"The Things of Others"
In those times when we feel overlooked, unappreciated, or neglected, a blessed opportunity lies before us. Namely, who can we notice, appreciate, and be sure to acknowledge?
"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others" (Philippians 2:4).
The Christian life works by God's determining or allowing our own challenges to become the basis of ministry to others. Our salvation began as the Lord Jesus Christ experienced an earthly lifetime of difficulty not for Himself, but for us. His challenges served as the means whereby He ministered to others, including and especially the cross of Calvary whereupon the Savior fulfilled Gabriel's prophecy of old: "after three score and two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself" (Daniel 9:26). The same Christ now lives in us to fulfill the same quality of life, including seeing our sufferings as opportunity to bless others. Thus, the aforementioned oversights that tempt us to sadness or even bitterness serve as reminders that others in our lives may require our attention, as directed and enabled by the Holy Spirit to "look… on the things of others."
No good ever comes when we sink into black holes of self absorption regarding our own challenges. Conversely, much benefit results when by faith we "shine as lights in the world" by looking upward, outward, and away to the glory of God and the blessing of others. Thus, if we seem to be "cut off" from the hearts and minds of those who seemingly should take notice, our best response involves the inquiry of love: "Father, who would You have me to acknowledge, appreciate, and affirm?" We offer ourselves to the Lord for ministry to someone else who also feels slighted, resulting in our own hearts being far more filled as we rejoice in the truth of how much more blessed it is to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). Looking on the things of others flows from "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). This is love, the love of Christ that "seeketh not her own" (I Corinthians 13:5). And this is life, the life of Christ that fills and fulfills all in whom His light delivers from black holes to serving as bright and shining suns for the glory of God.
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed, always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you."
(II Corinthians 4:8-12)
Weekly Memory Verse
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.