In today's fast paced world, each one wants to get ahead in life. The means do not matter; by hook or crook you need to get to the top, for one's own benefit. To climb the ladder up in the corporate world quickly, one needs to be highly ambitious. To keep up with the pace you need to talk about yourself, make known to everyone all the good you do, push others and put yourself before all.
Sounds familiar? Think something is missing somewhere? Let’s get back to the Bible to see what Christ taught us to do. Philippians 2:3-4 says 'Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.'
What a nice world it would be if Philippians 2:3 actually happened in reality! When we look for the interest of the other, we would not lose, for our need will automatically be taken care of. Even if we did lose something here in this fleeting life on earth, we sure would gain in multiple folds in eternity. Remember, for us as believers eternity is what actually counts!
The passage in Philippians further tells us of how Christ put us before Himself. He is the perfect role model, wherein He humbled Himself completely, gave up everything that tells of His majesty and royalty in order that ‘I’ may be saved. He did not think of the suffering He will have to undergo, the ultimate Sacrifice He will have to make, but put Himself to total humiliation when He thought of you and me.
Will be able to do the same that Christ did? When your colleague gets credited for what you did or when your boss overlooks something you really need to be appreciated. Are we able to stay calm and be peaceful? Looks like putting others first is difficult in reality? When what Christ did for us truly meant something for us and if we have been changed by His saving grace, we surely would be able to put the other person before us.
Some questions to ask ourselves and ponder:
Am I looking for the good of the other person or mine own? Am I able to sacrifice for my neighbour? Am I willing to come forward and talk for my brother (even when it costs me dearly)? Am I able to give myself up? What are the hindrances to put the other person first? How can I overcome?
Jesus said in Matthew 7:20 'By their fruit you will recognize them'. It is easy to say with our own mouths, “I am this” and “I am that”. But the actual kind of person we are is recognized by our fruit. That is what Jesus was trying to teach those who were following Him.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit as said in Galatians 5:22-23 talks about just one fruit (Note: That is not ‘fruits’ of the Holy Spirit). The single fruit has nine beautiful qualities in it as below.
Love: This is not the love that the world talks about. True love can be defined only in Christ as it is a selfless love, not demanding anything, but looking for the good of the other person.
Joy: You might have heard of this quote: ‘Happiness comes from happenings, but Joy comes from Jesus’. How true, entertainments, fun, pleasure only give temporary happiness; but real joy that is always present, in spite of the circumstance we are in can come only from Christ.
Peace: Peace is what the world is desperately in search of. Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” The peace that Christ promises is the one that is present deep within you when one is in phase with Christ. Those following Him, become peace makers in the world by giving the hope of Christ to the people around.
Patience: Patience is a virtue that is really missing today in this fast paced world. We want everything to be instant from our morning noodles to the cash we need that very moment. God wants us as believers to be patient in the Lord, to wait for Him to give the best. The result of patience is indeed a blessing, when we wait for God to give the right thing at His Sovereign time.
Kindness: Christ never wanted us to do or follow something that He never does or did. While on earth, His kindness is so evident in every dealing of His with the various people He met. When we look at people through Christ’s eyes, kindness is no difficult task; it comes automatically and needs no effort.
Goodness: It is because of the goodness of God, that we are living. If not for His goodness, we would have consumed long back due to our sin. We as His children need to reflect the goodness that we received from Christ. There are so many opportunities that come our way to show God’s goodness to those we meet daily. Are we ambassadors of Christ’s goodness in the world.
Faithfulness: Since creation, time and again God’s faithfulness is seen in all of His dealings with man. He fulfils each of His promises in His children’s life. God’s faithfulness does not depend on man’s faithfulness to Him; He is faithful even when we are not faithful to Him. Are we able to exhibit the same kind of faithfulness?
Gentleness: Gentleness is an inner virtue that is exhibited outside in all of our dealings. The Holy Spirit is a gentle Spirit. He does not force Himself on us but waits for us to give Him the control of our lives and when we do that, His gentleness is reflected by us in our speech, actions and reactions as well.
Self-control: Overcoming temptations is never an easy task, no matter however saintly a person is. However when God is in control, He gives us the strength to overcome any of those temptations. I Corinthians 10:13 says “when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” When we allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify us and make us pure, He gives us the self control over every Sin that Satan might tempt us into.
The fruit of the Spirit does not come just like that. It is through the help of the Holy Spirit and our desire and obedience to listen to Him, that we develop it in us. It is no use having all the gifts, speaking in tongues, exhibiting miracles, prophesying, etc, unless the fruit of the Holy Spirit is exhibited in us. On Judgment day, we will be judged by our fruits.
Lets check out if all of the qualities of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit is seen in us; if not lets ask Him to give us the strength to exhibit His characteristics in us, so that people who see us are able to see Christ in us and bring glory and praise to His name!
(Wrote it for http://perksforthepeak.blogspot.com)