“If you want to get crazy, let’s get crazy!” This statement has come out of my husband’s mouth more times than I can count after I have explained my next big idea to him. I love this about him! I can come up with this crazy idea for a party, an outreach event or a way to spend our once-free weekend and he gladly jumps right on board and goes all in. His philosophy is, “If we are going to do it, let’s go all in and do it right!”
As I was studying Philippians 2 and Romans 12 awhile back it really struck me that the lifestyle these passages are talking about is absolutely crazy. Paul asks us to go against our natural instincts and it even seems to go against our own best interest.
Here are my bullet-point summaries:
- Don’t be selfish but think of others better than yourself (2:3)
- Don’t only take care of yourself but look out for others’ needs (2:4)
- Have the same attitude of Christ and humbly serve (2:5-8)
- Do everything without complaining and arguing (2:14)
- Honestly evaluate yourself against God’s yardstick, not your own (12:3)
- Don’t pretend to love others but truly love them (12:9-10)
- Don’t be lazy – serve faithfully (12:11)
- Be patient (12:12)
- Always be ready to help (12:13)
- Bless those who are against you (12:14)
- Live in peace with others (12:16, 18)
- Never pay back evil to someone (even if they deserve it) (12:17, 19-21)
Our interactions with others really boil down to LOVE and SERVE. No matter if they DESERVE it or not we are to love and serve. Even if we don’t FEEL like it we are to love and serve. Even when we are getting NOTHING out of it we are to love and serve. I don’t know about you but this seems a little extreme to me!
However tucked into those two passages are promises that will come if we love and serve unselfishly and faithfully.
- If you obey these commands, God will give you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. (Phil 2:13)
- Your love and service will not be in vain, even if the reward isn’t until heaven! (Phil 2:16)
- You will have true joy. (Phil 2:17-18)
- God will take care of any wrong done against you, so you don’t have to. (Rom. 12:17-20)
- Evil can be conquered by doing good! (Rom 12:21)
The way to win the battle against a broken marriage, an unhealthy relationship, a mean boss or any person that is causing you strife is to love them unconditionally and to serve their needs. You have to be like Christ and give up your rights and serve them humbly and faithfully, even when they in no way, shape, or form deserve an ounce of kindness. Christ served man unconditionally while He was on this earth. He loved us unconditionally to the point He died for us so that He could unconditionally forgive us for the rest of our lives. Are we willing to extend that grace and mercy to those around us?
I know this is a lot to think about and digest. But instead of throwing this out the window, saying, “This is crazy!” “What about my rights?” “But you don’t know what they have done!!!!!” please just ponder these passages. Read the whole passages for yourself. Think about the strained relationships that are in your life and pray about them. Ask God what steps He would like you to take to mend and heal those relationships. Even if you don’t think you can muster up enough courage to take the first step, remember that you do not have to do it alone. He wants you to be willing to change. He wants you to seek Him and He will give you the strength and power to do all that He has called you to do. (Phil 2:13)
I will leave you with these Psalms to encourage you to think about living this crazy lifestyle.
Psalm 16:7-11 (NLT) I will bless The Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know The Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead, or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Psalm 25:8-10 (NLT) The Lord is good and does what is right; He shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them His way. The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep His covenant and obey His demands.
Psalm 34: 18-19 (NLT) The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles but The Lord comes to the rescue each time.
Psalm 37:3-5 (NLT) Trust in The Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in The Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to The Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.
This is my prayer for you this week…. “And so dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. They you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
I pray that you will join me as we learn what it means to love unconditionally and serve unconditionally. Let’s get crazy!!!
What are your thoughts? What examples have you seen of these principles at work?