DAILY DISCIPLINE #39
By Colleen Donahue
"If we would be great in God's kingdom, learn to be a servant of all."
The 1960's, the '70s, and '80s marked a distinctive 30 years for much of America. In the 60's we were finding our "rights". Authority was dethroned as we strove for peace, love, and equality. The 1970s offered a curriculum of "assertiveness training" -- especially for women and blacks. We were taught to "stand up for our rights" and "don't let others push you around!" Manipulative sales and management courses spread like fire as we learned to be concerned for others but only as they furthered our own cause and status. The hippies of the '60s became the yuppies of the '80s. The goal was to get to the top--to be in charge--to be the one whom others looked up to.
My 30 years in business as a "worker", a "boss", and now as a self-employed sales representative have kept me in touch first hand with the thoughts and attitudes of my contemporaries. As a Christian, it has challenged my thinking to no end. Am I to let others push me around? What if a customer is disrespectful towards me? What about those men who feel all women are inferior to their own great abilities? Everyone around me seems to be getting more aggressive. Won't I need to become the same to "hold my own"? These and many other questions I have needed to answer. But now, I can say confidently that all my experiences have led me to one conclusion:
WHAT CHRIST TEACHES IS OPPOSITE TO THE WORLD!
HOW ARE WE TO TREAT OUR AUTHORITIES?
Day 1- God gives each of us various people in authority over us. These might include a father, mother, husband, teacher, manager, policeman, etc. How are we to treat our authorities?
Day 2 -How does our attitude to the authority over us reflect our attitude toward God?
Day 3 -If you are a Christian who is disrespectful toward one in authority, whose name is the one really slandered?
1 Timothy 6:1
Day 4 -Paul in this verse encourages Titus to teach the slaves (servants, employees) not only to be obedient but to go a step beyond that.
Day 5 -But what if the person over us is harsh and unreasonable?
1 Peter 2:18-21
KEEPING UP WITH OTHER PEOPLE IS OPPOSITE TO GOD'S WAY FOR US
Society is always pushing us to get bigger, be better, do it faster, work smarter, obtain excellence, etc. There is certainly a place for full development as God's children. But our Father has meant us to find contentment in the place He has put us.
Day 6- Some of us are meant to be leaders, but many of us are meant to exercise our talents in a given sphere and glorify God within that place. Notice in these examples how the servant himself is ultimately honored.
Proverbs 17:2 / 25:13 / 27:18
Day 7- All over the world men and women are striving to get for themselves the pleasure and success that God wants to give us naturally.
Day 8 -As men strive to achieve and do more, this has led to growing dissatisfaction.
Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 / 2:11
Day 9- What does dissatisfaction ultimately lead to? (vs. 17, 18, 20)
Day 10- We show our discontent with God's will for us when we struggle to be or do something God hasn't planned for us. How does this often come about?
We are always to find our purpose from God and not be studying those around us and doing what they do.
Day 11- What is the gift that God wants each of us to receive?
Ecclesiastes 2:24 / 3:12-13
Day 12- What should our time and energies be devoted to?
Isaiah 55:2-3 / John 6:27
Day 13- If our lives are lived for God alone, then the values of the world and the pressure of society to achieve and be something will not dictate our lives.
John 4:34 / 17:4 / Acts 20:24
Day 14 - The demands of men will run us ragged. What does God demand?
Exodus 23:25 / Deuteronomy 10:12 / I Chronicles 28:9
Day 15- Will God's demands ever be too much for us?
Day 16- Christians in today's world have a very definite choice to make.
Day 17- We fall into great bondage when we strive to be men-pleasers and "get ahead". This gets especially complicated the more people we need to please. What is God's plan for us?
AMBITION: SELFISH OR GODLY?
This place of contentment that God has for each of us comes only when we are WHOLEHEARTEDLY using all the talents God has given us. At the same time society is driving us to selfish ambition, there is a great deal of apathy, boredom, and laziness. We dare not be lazy with the abilities we are entrusted with.
Day 18- What does God expect us to do with the "talents" (gifts, money, abilities, etc.) that He gives us?
Day 19- What results when we are faithful stewards of the things God gives to us?
Day 20 - Some of us feel that God "passed us by" when He was handing out the "talents". What is the tragedy of so many with this attitude?
Day 21- We may be among those who have "buried" our God-given talents. We may even feel quite humble, thinking, "Well, I don't have much to offer." If this describes you, then beware!
Day 22- Selfish ambition is certainly wrong--but NO ambition to use what God has given us ranks us among what category of people?
Day 23- When our ambition is Godly rather than selfish, what is the result?
I Peter 4:11
BECOMING GREAT IN THE WORLD'S EYES OR IN GOD'S EYES?
In the end, the ONLY opinion about you that ultimately matters on YOUR last day is God's. All the people you tried to please along the way will have nothing to say for you.
Day 24- What is the secret for becoming great amongst our fellow men?
Day 25 - Isaiah predicted that Christ would be among the "great". Why?
Day 26 - Notice in this verse the clear distinction of who the "world" views as great and who Christ aligns Himself with.
Day 27- We may want to occupy the executive office and legislate business from our swivel chair, but where do we find Christ?
Where does He expect to find us?
Day 28- In fact, what category of people are we to be like?
Day 29- Ultimately, what will bring the wealth, success, honor, and happiness that we all desire?
Deuteronomy 5:32-33 / Proverbs 22:4
Day 30- The world thinks that the strong, the rich, the powerful, and the witty will be the ones to "take over". WHO will "take over" in reality?
Psalm 37:11 / Matthew 5:5
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