The Bible is encouraging; it consistently points out that we matter to God. But it is also pretty good at illustrating how terrible we really are. Jesus fixed that with His death and resurrection; He justified us so we have access to eternity.
But Jesus made a strange example for us. Instead of projecting righteousness while on earth because we don’t look dirty to God anymore, He suggested lowering oneself to the position of a servant, not stopping at “uncomfortable” or “inconvenient”. He calls us to become “worthless” while on earth.
Here’s what I mean:
Infiltrate multiple cultures (v. 1-6, 21)
Go on and on (v. 7-11, 27)
Speaking of death, Paul was killin’ it in Troas. He was so persistent in his teaching that a man fell to his death (temporarily, of course).
It’s hard to find people with sturdy, unwavering ideologies, those that press on. People ache for integrity and a firm footing; people need help when climbing a mountain, especially if they slip. So keep going. Be long-winded. Stand for something.
Serve passionately (v. 19)
People notice if you’re doing things halfway. So does God. I think it’s smart to err on the side of effort and emotion. Go ahead and strap that heart on your sleeve.
Kill yourself (v. 24)
Jesus says we must die to ourselves to really start following Him. In Paul’s situation, He proclaims his life is worthless for the sake of demonstrating God’s grace. That is hardcore. Would you be willing to lay down your life for another if it meant eternity with God?
Don’t be a liberal (v. 30-31)
Without the classic dictionary definition of liberalism (READ before getting all huffy), we wouldn’t have the United States, I wouldn’t be driving, and you wouldn’t be reading this on your computer/phone/tablet. But one thing we can never be liberal on is the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, many well-meaning Christian organizations are compromising the Word of God to get some more chairs filled or get a nod of approval from their peers. Holding your ground might mean not getting your picture in the yearbook under “most popular”. But it will mean getting the pat on the back from God. Win.
Help someone (v. 35)
Anyone. Please. It might mean some discomfort. It might even mean rendering yourself less than another person, to the point of appearing worthless. But the payoff, if you’re still looking out for yourself, is pretty good.
So do it. Become a nobody.
I’m aware I skipped a Calvary Chapel favorite (v. 27). Spurgeon addresses this quite nicely.