Day 1: Read Mark 10: 35-45. This passage gives a clear distinction between our selfish nature and the person Jesus is calling us to be. We can lean towards self while Jesus leans towards others. James and John bring their request which was all about place, position and honor. When the others heard about the request, they were indignant. "What makes James and John better than or more special than us?" The request of the two and the response of the ten all point towards self. Because we see this kind of behavior repeatedly in the lives of those who were closest to Jesus, we would be wise to pause and examine our own motivation and heart. Where do you see selfishness most in your life? With co-workers, your boss or the people you manage, your teacher or teammates, with your spouse, parent or with a son/daughter? What areas of life do you find yourself acting out of self? In your journal, write down some observations and take a few minutes to pray.
Day 2: One place that selfishness likely goes undetected is in our motivations. It is easy to believe that at least I am “other focused” because I am serving. The nature of serving can cause us to believe that anything we do in the way of “serve” is clearly “living like Jesus”. Read Mark 10:42-45. Jesus' response to selfishness is to challenge his disciples to become servants as He modeled this behavior in the way He lived. Serving can be position, task, or location oriented but being a servant has very little to do with how, where, or even who we serve. It is simply an outflow of who we are. By the Spirit, we are moved to step into situations in an attempt to meet a need. Have you ever considered your motivations to serve? Why do you serve where you do? Are you serving out of an obligation or guilt or in response to God? Is there something deep inside of you that wants to be recognized? Are you really serving because you want to control the situation? Ultimately, serving helps us develop a way of life that Jesus modeled and calls us to live.
Day 3: The heart level of serve is not focused on “Am I serving?” but on “Am I a servant?” To be a servant does mean that I will serve. But just because I do serve that does not necessarily make me a servant. To explain further, if I am a servant then I not only serve in some specific roles, but I live as a servant. Read Isaiah 61:1-2 and Matthew 25:21. See how God has called us to serve, not just once a month on a Sunday, but every day and in every way. Jesus lived and served by the “as you go” mentality. As He was going about His day, He would be faced with a life situation and He served. The children wanted to come to Him, so He sat down and talked with them. The multitudes were hungry. Jesus recognized this, and He fed them. Becoming a servant is becoming someone who, like Jesus, freely steps into situations and lives to give of oneself for the sake and benefit of others. Find a way to remind yourself to serve "as you go" today.
Day 4: Read Acts 4:32-37. This passage states that the believers (the church) were united in heart and mind, sharing everything they had with one another because they felt that what they owned was not their own. Their actions of service flowed from having a servant’s heart. They both knew Jesus and were becoming like Him. Sometime we can get off course is in our understanding of serving. Is serving just a task on the list to complete, then to move on? What steps do you need to take to move from serving to becoming a servant? These verses in Acts are challenging to read. Do they represent your current thinking about your possessions, time or money? What would it look like for you to take a step toward this kind of lifestyle? Talk at the dinner table or with a friend on what God is teaching you about becoming a servant.
Day 5: The past three weeks we have looked at worship, community and serve. Take some time to reflect and pray for 5-10 minutes. Have you worshipped "in all that you do"? How have you been intentional in your relationships? Who are in your circles? How are you moving from just serving to being a servant? Recognize some recent devotional reflections, conversations and your actions in response to these questions. Thank God for how He is working in your life. He is good! Ask Him to show you how and where to put your focus today. Remember that the three commitments provide opportunity for us to take steps to be changed. The continual question…what steps do I need to take? Are these steps changing me at a heart level to become more like Jesus?