By Asst. Pastor Adeola Ibikunle
“A affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus Our Lord, I die daily”. (1 Cor. 15:31 NASB).
Our fallen human nature is completely and utterly selfish. We are born wanting all our needs met (right now) and if we are not careful, we will continue living like self-centered, immature children. But as Christians, there is a higher call to put off our old nature and put on the “new man” (Eph. 4:22-24), Col. 3:9-11). In this pieces, we are going to examine Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the believers in Corinth which gives us a glimpse of his aim in life.
To get clear picture of this exhortation, I think it is important to examine the life of Christ and the finished work if the cross as our example. Apostle Paul encouraged believers in Philippi.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humanity commit other more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, white is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not commit equality with God, a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phili. 2:3-8ESV).
As Jesus ‘disciples, we are called to follow Him. That was Paul’s mission in life – to imitate Christ. And it is what he and the rest of the apostles literally gave their lives to preach to the world through their words and actions. We may not ever get the honour to literally die for Jesus Christ because of our faith in Him, but by God’s grace, we can imitate His selflessness every day.
Ways in which Jesus lived a selfless faith on Earth.
- Jesus humbly approached the father through prayer : Even through Jesus was God in the flesh, He still leaned upon God the father for everything He said and did while He walked this earth. Jesus would wise early to pray and seek God for His will for the day. There isn’t anything extra Biblical or holy about the time of day you have quiet time with the Lord but there is something special about giving God the first part of your day with prayer and time in His word, which renews our mind. We must make is a top priority to carve out time in our day to get alone with God and commune with Him. The more we cultivate a relationship with the Lord, the more the begins to transform our life, and we become more like Him.
- Jesus obediently submitted Himself to the will of the father: Each day, we are faced with the temptation to satisfy our flesh and go outside the boundaries of God’s perfect will. We discover what that will is when we read the Bible and study it for ourselves to learn God’s ways. We are not perfect, bit thankfully Jesus was, and because of His sacrifice on the cross, we have been given the precious gift of the Holy Spirit as born-again believers. We read in Luke 22, when Jesus was praying in the garden on the night before His crucifixion, He cried out to the father, “Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from me; nevertheless not my will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42 NKJV). At His most desperate hour, He guided His life to God’s plan, even when it meant that He was going to die a very painful death. Yet, He knew that wasn’t where the story ended, there would be a resurrection. The same power that raised Jesus from the grace is the same power that lives in use, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth, convicts us of our sins when we fall, and empowered us to obey God and to overcome temptation when it tries to overwhelm us. God always provides a way out.
- Jesus did not come to be served “For ever the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 NKJV. “Ministry” is from the Greek word “Diakoneo” meaning “to serve”. Jesus ministered to thousands upon thousands of people during His time here on earth John 22 tell us that if all the things Jesus did were all written down, the entire world could not contain the books that would be written! Who is God asking us to serve? What selfish desires do you need to lay aside to put someone else’s life before your own? Are you too busy or two distracted to serve others?
I know as a teacher and father at home this is something I am challenged with everyday. I am given countless opportunities to set aside my wants and given my love, time, and attention to the need of my students, church members and my children. Pouring oneself out like that on a daily basis can sometime be physically, mentally and spiritually exhausting; I found myself praying for supernatural strength after! This principle of living for others totally negative the principle of the world system. This Biblical principle of dying to yourself has always been true and rewarding but difficult to do. May God grant us grace to meet up with His standard.