Let me encourage you to stop and consider all that you do for others. Now, I want to go beyond the acts of serving others. I want you to consider all that you do to impress others. It is worthwhile to ponder why you do what you do? I believe that a part of our motivation is so that we can be somebody in the eyes of others. The Bible reminds us that that way of living robs us of our freedom in Jesus!
The challenge with being a “somebody,” real or desired, is that it artificially inflates our view of ourselves. What we fail to see is that it makes life all about me! I have recently been pondering Jesus’ demeanor with others. I am impressed at how he was unflappable when it involved corrupt individuals attempting to trip Him up. We also see it in how he responded to the “unlovely” people as defined by the culture of that time. It is amazing to get a glimpse of how he treated others with grace and dignity.
I am reminded that none of us are Jesus, though we can be like Him. The secret is to have an accurate view of ourselves. But it is more than just paying lip service to a Biblical truth. It is a call to own that, “I am a nobody!” The simple truth is if I am a nobody then I am not tempted to impress others that I am a somebody. If I am a nobody, I am looking at others eye to eye rather than down my nose at them. The beauty of being a nobody is that we are freed from the expectations of others and even ourselves.
The Apostle Paul reminds us of this vital truth in Galatians as he paints a high definition picture of what the “Fruit of the Spirit” looks like in action. He reminds us that the heartbeat of Christianity is being other-centered. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”(Galatians 6:2)The last part of this verse presents a simplified perspective on Christianity. It boils everything down, including the whole Old Testament, to God’s desire for us to care for others.
But we are often blocked from seeing this essential truth because we ourselves are the obstacle. Let’s develop three steps we need to take to become a “nobody!” Paul writes, “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”(Galatians 6:3). First, we need to realize that our view of ourselves determines if we will focus on ourselves or others. He is essentially calling us to get off our “high horse.” The simple truth is that you and I are not that special when you think about it. Paul reminded the cultured Corinthian believers that all the stuff they were taking credit for was given to them by God. (1 Corinthians 4:7) This leads us to a second step, embrace being a nobody. Does it really matter what others think? The answer is no. It only matters what God thinks. Paul reminded the Corinthians that everything that they boasted about was really a gift from God. Yes, even that success you achieve in life is because of God’s gifts in our life in the form of talents, abilities and even things like parents. The third step is to stop telling ourselves that we are somebody or one day we are going to be somebody. There is nothing wrong with dreams and achievements when we see them as gifts from our Creator. The humble position of nothingness positions us to do something for Jesus.
Let me ask you a tough question. How much of your stress, worry, and frustration is rooted in trying to impress others? Jesus is calling you to embrace who you really are, a nobody in Jesus!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson