Lesson for the Lord’s Day

For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. Romans 14:7

A relative was telling me about her visit with someone we both know well. This person has a very fine home with many attractive features in it. But my relative was more than a little shocked at a large plaque on a prominent wall that reads: ‘It’s All About Me’. The plaque’s message shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, because this person’s primary focus in life is obviously herself, and always has been. Boiled down to one word, what is the primary focus of your life? If you are a Christian, the answer to that question cannot be ‘Me’. Jesus Christ has a title: Lord. We acknowledged His lordship when we first trusted Him as our Saviour. And that makes Him our primary focus.

Our text reminds us that we are not islands, living and dying to ourselves. And that is true of everyone, but especially important for Christians. People around us are affected by what we do, as we are affected by what they do. And as Christians, we are affected by our relationship with our Lord most of all. In fact, our lives are enriched to the extent that we submit ourselves to Him and allow the Holy Spirit to perform His work in and through us. Let’s look at some examples in the Scripture of those who were blessed because they did not exalt themselves.

No example is greater than that of John Baptist, who could declare: ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’ – John 3:30. John’s ministry shrank, and then was terminated by bloody Herod as the Lord Jesus began His ministry, and John was fine with that, because he knew his role as the one who would prepare the way and introduce the Lamb of God. Like John, our role is to exalt the Lord Jesus, not ourselves. The centurion understood that when he told the Lord Jesus: ‘Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof’ – Matthew 8:8, and he had the joy of not only seeing his servant healed but also of having his great faith recognized by the Lord Himself. He sought blessing for others, with no regard for his own interests. And don’t forget the publican in the temple in Luke 18, overcome by the awesomeness of the Lord’s presence and the awareness of his own sinnership. Unlike the self-centred Pharisee beside him, he obtained justification as he cried for mercy from the One Who offered it. Such humility is what the Lord is looking for in us too.

If we would be blessed, we must see Christ as our Centre, surrounded by those who our Lord would have us serve, before we give ourselves any consideration. -Jim MacIntosh

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