journal Luke 22 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.
And (Jesus) said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But, not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.
For whom is the greater: one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table?
But I am among you as the one who serves…” Luke 22:24-27
Observation: Ambition is not a uniquely American characteristic. What is the core characteristic of holy ambition, then?
Analysis: Also refer to Luke 14:11a, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled…”
While I am surrendering to the Cross, this old American ideal of making the best of myself rears its head. It is especially uncomfortable when doing my “self-evaluation” at work or angling for a promotion.
What is supposed to happen, therefore, in the Church?
Easy, Sunday school answer is to serve, to be a servant.
But what does service look like? Servanthood can look like a great many things functionally (tearing down after Sunday service; Children’s ministry; Hosting bible study/prayer meetings; muscle equity, etc.) but other stuff can get in the way like, laziness (which I am much aware of), attitude of entitlement (been there, done that, let someone else do it now), and general Christian malaise (what for, why should I, etc. This is a church on the bigger side, they don’t need me in the way…). Note that these things I thought of, I think of.
All these items are…issues of the attitude of the heart…and the core issue is…not embracing the Gospel, not embracing the Cross. The heart is the issue.
What is my ambition? I want to be like Jesus. How do I do that?
- One answer is to dive into the Christian Disciplines. Find a copy of “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” by Don Whitney.
- Another is to join a small group and participate, leave shields and other protection at home; start becoming transparent (it is a process, don’t beat yourself up).
- Make a friend of another Christian in the local church, not an accountability partner but a friend:
- A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Prov 17:17
- A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.(Prov 18:25)
- 2 Cor 13:5, Examine yourself and determine “Do I have a heart of a servant?” If there is an answer “no” to the question that is returned by the mirror, start by serving at home to your spouse, your children, without being asked and without trying to get noticed. By the way, it has been my experience that if the answer to the question of being a servant is “Yes, I do have that heart”, there may be some heart deception occurring. Remember, no one has “arrived” in the Christian Life this side of Heaven.
- Heb 3:12-13 Practice encouragement. Recognize grace in somebody’s life and tell them so that they do not succumb to sinful attitudes: “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort (encourage in the NASB), as long as it is called “today”, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
I want a changed heart. I want to be like Jesus.
Prayer: Father, I am weak, and I want to be strong. I want to find a place and not be wayward.
Help me, O Lord.
Ricky Two Shoes