A couple of days ago, I listened to a marriage seminar conducted by Francis and Lisa Chan (see link below). Session one was packed with great information that would help every married couple. But there was one line, in particular, which stood out to me. It was a comment by Lisa.
“The more inward you focus, the more miserable you will be.”
Meditate upon that concept with me for a few minutes. Do you believe Lisa is correct? I sure do! The more we focus upon ourselves, the more discouraged we become.
I just did a Google search for the following phrase: think of others rather than yourself.
The first listing was from the Bible. If you are familiar with the New Testament, the passage will not surprise you.
Php 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
Php 2:4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Putting others first. There’s one of the remedies for misery.
Several weeks ago, TJ’s Upwards Basketball coach shared a devotional with the boys about taking initiative. He spoke with the boys about looking for needs and being proactive about meeting those needs. Good stuff.
The following is an excerpt from an excellent blog entry on Rich Nathan’s blog about this issue:
The Bible teaches that as servants of the Lord, God has certain assignments for us to accomplish in this life. We read in Ephesians 2.10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
We followers of Christ are God’s masterpieces. Literally, we are his works of art, created in Christ Jesus, not self-created. We are not self-made men and women. The spiritual life that comes through the born-again experience was created in Christ. And the purpose of our new lives in Christ was to fulfill the unique assignment that God has given to each of us according to his sovereign will. Ephesians 2.10 teaches that if you are a servant of the Lord, there is a plan, a destiny that God has in mind for you. Life is about discovering God’s purpose for you. To miss your assignment is to live a wasted life.
Life is not about indulging as many of our wants as we can, or trying to live above the rules, or creating our own dreams or forging our own destinies. People who live with no sense of God’s assignment constantly drift from one experience to another. They move from one job to another, one relationship to another, one location to another – always discontent, always searching, always on the move, always frustrated, never at peace.
In this world, there are situations, people and decisions that only you can touch in the unique way that God has purposed.
Here is a little secret. Life is all about choosing for or against our assignment from God. Sometimes the choice is huge. There is an obvious fork in the road, and if we take one road, it is going to lead us to a radically different destination than if we take the other road.
But mammoth decisions come along very infrequently in life. Most of our assignments from the Lord are very small. There is a phone call that God wants us to make. There is a person in the hospital that God wants us to visit. There is a dishwasher that God wants us to empty. There is a difficult conversation that God wants us to have. There is a relationship that God wants us to reconcile. There is a prayer that God wants us to pray.
As servants, our time is not our own. Our money is not our own. We are on assignment from God. The question we constantly need to ask is, “Lord, what are the good works that you prepared beforehand for me to do?”
Serving not only helps others, serving blesses the servant. In serving others, we not only assist another person’s well-being, we also bless ourselves. This makes perfect sense since we human beings are designed to be servants. When we work in accordance with God’s design, we flourish. And when we don’t, we don’t!
How does serving bless the servant?
- Serving increases self-confidence. In doing good for others in the church and in the community, we experience a natural sense of accomplishment. When we have a ministry role in the church or community, the role can provide us with a clear sense of identity. The better we feel about ourselves, the more likely we are to have a positive view of our lives and our future goals.
- Serving combats depression. One risk factor for depression is social isolation. Serving in some ministry keeps us in regular contact with others and helps us develop a solid support system. Serving improves people’s moods and reduces people’s stress and anxiety.
Are you miserable? Whose needs are you meeting? I agree with the author’s statement above: “…there are situations, people and decisions that only you can touch in the unique way that God has purposed.” God has a purpose for me. He has a purpose for you. Let’s rededicate ourselves to glorifying Him and blessing the people He has made!
Here’s that link to the Francis and Lisa Chan video I mentioned above: