Live for Others

It’s a different word.

The Spirit softly whispered it into my soul during a recent ministry retreat. So when it showed up a few days later in Wordle, it was a warm reminder. It was an added confirmation to meditate on the phrasing God deposited in me.

With how my mind works, the best way to meditate on any concept is to write. I suppose that’s the whole reason I maintain this website. I think, therefore, I write.

We read in 2 Corinthians 5:15 that “He [Jesus Christ] died for all, so that those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose on their behalf” (NASB). So then, those who have new life in Christ should live for Him. That life is daily demonstrated in how we handle our horizontal face-to-face relationships.

“Live for others” is the phrase I heard. Perhaps it’s because my mind has been preoccupied with a minor crisis and how it would affect my goals. My thinking was leaning in the wrong direction. And now I’ve been reminded to refocus on others.

As a Bible student, I know that “other” is used abundantly in Scripture. The phrase “live for others” is also a strongly taught concept. Jesus says, “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12).

It stands in stark contrast to the cultural stream of contemporary living. Self-care and loving yourself appear to be trending higher than ever among conventional thinking.

The modern Christian should beware. Too much emphasis on self-care can lead to the ditch of excess. If you focus too heavily on loving yourself, you’ll begin resisting any form of sacrifice that doesn’t result in helping yourself. If you’ve been a Christian for several years and a Bible student, you should know that the process of discipleship requires sacrificially living for others.

The Golden Rule (Jesus, Matthew 7:12) says explicitly, others. James, “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,” maintains the focus by stating the Royal Law. But through him, the Spirit says, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well” (James 2:8).

Who is my neighbor? A neighbor is definitely someone other than yourself. Essentially, my neighbor is anyone other than myself who I encounter in need of my help.

“Live for others” is what the Spirit has impressed on my mind. At least for the rest of this calendar year, I’m sure that I’ll return to this focus. After all, living for the good of others is what ministry is all about.

Did you know that this concept is the example Jesus set for us? He always made room at the table for others, even those who weren’t entirely devoted to Him. Jesus even sat at the table of fellowship with those who misunderstood Him or sought to abuse His grace. Read the Gospels and learn more about how He always lived for others.

If you’re curious to know how I’m confident this phrase originated from the Spirit, let me explain. As a student of the Bible and life, I’ve come to see the character of God the Holy Spirit. I can also usually recognize when the adversary of my soul is influencing me.

Satan would never encourage me to focus on living for others. He’d say something like, “forget them. Do what’s best for yourself. You’re the guy in charge here. Use your authority to make it happen.” And, of course, the devil is a liar. Only the Holy Spirit can speak to me in a discernable voice that encourages me to be focused on others and live sacrificially for their good.

I look forward to making room for others in my life. Maybe it’ll be making room at the table or simply building new and different digital relationships.

I’ll end with this memorable quote from Zig Ziglar. He (1926-2012) was a Christian, and he was an extraordinary motivational speaker. He often said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

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