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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Death to Self

When we think of what it means to follow Christ, we often think of “denying ourselves.” Many people assume that by simply denying the darkest parts of ourselves that we would be more and more like our Saviour. B. B. Warfield (1851-1921), a theologian and staunch defender of the faith, had these comments on Philippians 2 and what it means to be an imitator of Christ:

Self-denial concentrates our whole attention on self…it narrows the soul…until we grow so great in our own esteem as to be careless of our fellow men.

It is not to this that Christ’s example calls us.

He did not cultivate self, even His divine self: He took no account of self.

He was not led by His divine impulse out of the world, driven back into the recesses of His own soul to brood morbidly over His own needs, until to gain His own seemed worth all sacrifice to Him.

He was led by His love for others into the world, to forget Himself in the needs of others, to sacrifice self once for all upon the altar of sympathy.

Self-sacrifice brought Christ into the world. And self-sacrifice will lead us, His followers, not away from but into the midst of men.

Wherever men suffer, there will we be to comfort.

Wherever men strive, there will we be to help.

Wherever men fail, there will be we to uplift. Wherever men succeed, there will we be to rejoice.

Self-sacrifice means not indifference to our times and our fellows: it means absorption in them.

It means forgetfulness of self in others.

It means entering into every man’s hopes and fears, longings and despairs: it means manysidedness of spirit, multiform activity, multiplicity of sympathies.

It means richness of development.

It means not that we should live one life, but a thousand lives,—binding ourselves to a thousand souls by the filaments of so loving a sympathy that their lives become ours.

It means that all the experiences of men shall smite our souls and shall beat and batter these stubborn hearts of ours into fitness for their heavenly home.

It is, after all, then, the path to the highest possible development, by which alone we can be made truly men. Not that we shall undertake it with this end in view. This were to dry up its springs at their source. We cannot be self-consciously self-forgetful, selfishly unselfish.

Only, when we humbly walk this path, seeking truly in it not our own things but those of others, we shall find the promise true, that he who loses his life shall find it.

Only, when, like Christ, and in loving obedience to His call and example, we take no account of ourselves, but freely give ourselves to others, we shall find, each in his measure, the saying true of himself also: “Wherefore also God hath highly exalted him.”

The path of self-sacrifice is the path to glory.

Do you agree with his assessment of self-denial vs. self-sacrifice?

Share a story of when you’ve seen these principles at work in your life or in someone else’s life.

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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Restlessness

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Augustine, the 4th century bishop and church father. He is famous for, among other things, this quote: “God, You made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until we find rest in You.”

As leaders, we know that our leadership is a gift of God, and our connection to Him must be continually nourished if we are to be effective. There’s two songs I’ve been listening to that get to this idea of restlessness. I hope that they minister to you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0B2ybZpDeM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFlScJ32_qw&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL0AEF9D58A1C3026D

I’d love to hear your thoughts as you reflect on these ideas.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Leadership Case Study 1

For this week’s installment, I’ve got a case study to present to you. After you read and reflect on it, leave a comment telling us how you would respond in this situation.

In the first four years of her Christian life, Shannon grew steadily in her walk with God. She made such amazing progress in her knowledge of the Bible that others told her she put them to shame. She became involved in a small group at her church and she found a place to serve others.

Recently, however, Shannon has been feeling as if she is in a spiritual slump. Prayer and meditation were once a priority after she heard someone say, “No Bible, no breakfast.” But now, Shannon is more irregular in her “quiet time.” Some of her friends tell her not to be concerned, but she feels as if days without a quiet time don’t go very well. She as also found that as her work has increased, she hasn’t been able to attend her small group as often as before.

In the early years of her Christian walk, Shannon used to marvel at the way God changed her attitudes towards work and difficult people. Now she feels guilty because a few days ago she lost her temper with a customer, and she worries that she doesn’t seem to be making the same gains in her faith that she once did.

What would you tell Shannon to help her understand what spiritual growth means and to encourage her in her walk with Christ?

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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