February 12, 2018

Just remember today, contrary to popular belief, God created Mondays and He said it was good! I am praying that your Monday will be the start of a beautiful week. If you were in church yesterday then your week is already off to a great start!!
This morning I was thinking about one session from our marriage conference over the weekend. One session in particular was basically all about how we cannot be people who love ourselves first. In a marriage relationship we have to learn to put the other person ahead of ourselves. But this principle goes far beyond just a marriage relationship. Self-centeredness is at epidemic proportions in our world today. I have been preaching on the topic for many years. Going back to my days as a youth minister I have long held that selfishness is at the core of most of our problems. I am not saying we should not have a healthy love for the person God has created us to be. We should, but I don’t have time this morning to delve into that side of this issue. What I want us to see this morning is that our lives will be happier and better when we choose to take our eyes off of ourselves.
I can remember growing up and how life changed dramatically in my house when my brother died. He was 14 and I was 9 and we were best buddies. It was a difficult time for our entire family. But I remember back on how my parents’ attitude changed towards me. I was the lone son left and I became the favorite. My Dad doted on me and spoiled me as much as he could. He had been spoiled as an only child so he never quite spoiled me like he was spoiled but it was an obvious thing (I’m sorry for my two sisters – I never asked for the extra favor). And I was pretty sure I was my mother’s favorite as well (she couldn’t help herself considering how adorable I was). But I think all that has led to a lifetime of struggling against that selfishness. I think it’s healthy to feel unique and understand that we are a wonderful creation from God but that gift should never be used for our own glory. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) To be His disciple requires that we deny self. It requires that we put the interests of others above our own. 1 Corinthians 10:24 says, “Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.”
But I find each day that the biggest struggle I have is to get my eyes off of me and onto Him. One of the biggest ways I can do that is by seeking out ways to be a help to others. Philippians reminds us, “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Now there he is saying he understands there are some things we have to take care of in our lives each day but it cannot be all about me and my plans. I hope you are not like me, but many times I find myself missing out on ministry opportunities because I am busy on my way to my next calendar event for the day. I don’t have time to stop. Many times, I am ashamed to say, I don’t even see the need or the person. There is one man who I have seen standing on the road out in front of SAMs lately. I have seen him several times. He is obviously in need but I don’t know what to do to help him. I pray for him but somehow I don’t think that is enough. But how many people do I pass who are in need? How many people does God put in my path that I have the means to help and yet I am too busy with my own selfish agenda?
Selfishness is not something to be conquered and then we move on. No, it is a struggle every single day because we must fight against it in a battle that will never end in this lifetime. So how do we live this selfless life on a day-to-day basis? A life filled with the Spirit is the key to living a selfless, and Christ-centered life. We must allow God to live in us and control every part of who we are as a child of God. Pastor Chuck Smith once said this:
We are all striving for one or the other. You are either striving to bring God glory, or you are striving for your own glory.
You are seeking to bring praise to God, or you are seeking to bring praise to yourself.
For man is driven to worship and if I don’t worship God, I will worship myself. And my god will become a projection of myself.
I pray that today God will use you and me in a way that the world might see Him living in us. May we seek to live for Him as we serve others on our way to bringing Him the glory He deserves!!
Thanks to all of you who helped support our sale of baked goods and chocolate-covered strawberries yesterday. Even with the bad weather we sold almost all of our 400+ strawberries! It’s not too late if you want to make a donation to help support our team. #MissionAthens2018
And finally I want to wish a BIG Happy First Birthday to Mackie Lou Hixon, daughter of my son Caleb and his wife Olivia Katherine, who celebrated her very first birthday yesterday. What a joy and a blessing she is in our life!!
I am ON MISSION Today! Are You?