I Am Third

Jesus stepped into our world because he valued us more than his own life. He might have refused to get involved. He could have put his own interests ahead of ours.

But that’s just not Jesus. Jesus is the very embodiment of love. He is the incarnation of humility and service.

He laid out this servant’s mentality himself, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45, NIV).

What a different attitude from that which our culture teaches us. How often haven’t we heard, “If you’re going to do “x”, don’t do it for someone else. And certainly don’t do it for me. No, make sure you’re doing it for yourself.”

Paul gives the opposite advice. He tells us to imitate Jesus’ humility and love. Live your life not to be served, but to serve. Give your life away for others, as Jesus first gave his life away for you. Be ready to say, “God is first. Others are second. I am third.”

Many people live to get honor and respect from others, or to earn perks and privileges for themselves. Christians too — much as we know about Christ’s gracious and generous mindset — can struggle with selfishness, greed and pride. Ambition and conceit are much too frequent guests in our hearts.

But in the Spirit’s power, we have been given the gift of choice again. The apostle Paul points us in the right direction. Now we are ready to adopt the same mindset as Jesus. We begin to value others above ourselves. We choose humility over pride. We select service over selfishness.

And we do it because we remember that Jesus chose us over himself.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:3-8, NIV).

Lord, I am sorry for all the times when I have put myself ahead of others, and even ahead of you. Please forgive me. Grant me your Holy Spirit and the wisdom that comes from above so that I can have the same mindset as you, Jesus. Help me to value and serve others above myself as you first valued and served me above yourself.

Our Bible reading for Wednesday, September 30, is Jeremiah 1:1 – 2:30, Philippians 1:27 – 2:11 and Psalm 115:1-11.

Header image based on "Let Jesus Bring You Light" by Vinoth Chandar, CC By 2.0

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pastorjeffgunn

I'm married to my beautiful wife Julie and have five kids whose names all begin with the letter A. I'm a pastor at CrossWalk Church in Phoenix, AZ. I love Jesus, my wife, my kids, and my grandkids. Huge Arizona Cardinals fan! Reading, hiking, camping, travel, and fishing are my top 5 downtime pleasures.

2 thoughts on “I Am Third”

  1. So true, Jeff! It is a daily battle to remind myself that others are more important than I due to my sinful nature that always wants to shout, “me! me! me!” What a perfectly timed reminder of who should take priority in my life!

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  2. Our Bible reading for Wednesday, September 30, is Jeremiah 1:1 – 2:30, Philippians 1:27 – 2:11 and Psalm 115:1-11.

    “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”
    ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:5-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
    ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:9-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    Heavenly Father, in fellowship you have put many great people in my life. For so many years I was selfish and rarely put in anyone before myself, including you. You sent the perfect example, the perfect role model for me, yet I so often choose to follow the world and my flesh. Thank you Lord, thank you for Jesus. He is my The name above all names. His actions are pure and show me I need to know to please you in what I do. I know Lord I will fail, but my heart is humble and your love is great. Your love, your faithfulness is truly all I need.

    “Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”
    ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭115:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    ~Paul Montenieri

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