I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me (Psalm 57:2).
When I think about God fulfilling his purpose for me, I naturally drift toward things like material comforts, freedom from inconveniences, and large doses of verbal affirmation. Regrettably, conformity to Christ doesn’t immediately come to mind. How different this is from the Scriptural portrait!
Paul repeatedly informs us that God purposes to sanctify his children, which involves bringing our heart-attitudes and character into alignment with Christ.
What does that look like?
Humility – “. . . doing nothing from selfish ambition or vain glory, but with humility of mind regarding one another as more important than yourselves, not merely looking out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this way of thinking in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although existing in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a slave, by being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:3–8, Legacy Standard Bible).
“The humble man feels no jealousy or envy. He can praise God when others are preferred and blessed before him. He can bear to hear others praised and himself forgotten, because in God’s presence he has learnt to say with Paul, ‘I am nothing.’” – Andrew Murray, Humility.
I need humility.
Fruit of the Spirit – “. . . the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23, ESV).
“God, change me in the depths of my being! Fill me with Your holy presence until Your will is my chief delight. . . . Cleanse me of any unholy fire in my own heart! Teach me how to love others the way Jesus loves me!” – Jack Miller, The Heart of A Servant Leader.
I need the help of the Holy Spirit.
Service – “. . . whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave” (Matthew 20:26–27, ESV).
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him” (John 13:3–5, ESV).
A hidden life of sacrificial service kills pride, self-importance, self-preoccupation, and self-fascination.
“In Thy will, O Lord, is my peace.
In Thy love is my rest.
In Thy service is my joy.
Thou art all my heart’s desire.” – John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer.
I need to run away from the spotlight and serve quietly in the shadows.
Childlike wonder – “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Mark 10:15, ESV).
This is my Father’s world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–
His hand the wonders wrought.
I need a childlike yet fully adult faith.
Speaking/Doing the truth in love – “. . . speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15, ESV).
“You are called to be patient and constructive in every relationship and every interaction” – David Powlison
I need to speak wisely and constructively to my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Brokenness – “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
“Brokenness is the shattering of my self-will—the absolute surrender of my will to the will of God. It is saying ‘Yes, Lord!’—no resistance, no chafing, no stubbornness—simply submitting myself to His direction and will in my life.” – Nancy Leigh DeMoss Brokenness: The Heart God Revives.
I need a broken will.
Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever (Collect for the Third Sunday in Lent)