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Life Principle #25
God blesses us so that we might bless others.




Live the Principle
How would you complete the following three statements?
1. God saved me because _________________.
2. God’s purpose for saving me was _______________.
3. I am most like Jesus when I ________________.

I give you this little quiz not to put you on the spot, but to set the proper framework for our discussion. I’m seeking the following answers to my questions:
1. God saved me because He loves me.
The sole reason that God sent His Son to this world to die for your sins and mine was because He loved us. God forgives us, grants us eternal life, and gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit out of His immeasurable love and grace. There is no other reason.
Many people seem to believe that God saves a man or woman because of the person’s good works or service. Nothing could be further from the truth. No amount or type of service can earn salvation. The apostle Paul made this very clear when he wrote: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9). Even the faith by which we believe that God forgives us and saves us is a divine gift that flows from His love!
This point is critical to understand. Any good we do is in response to God’s gifts of salvation, eternal life, and the Holy Spirit, never in order to earn, win, or warrant salvation.
2. God’s purpose for saving me was to bring Him glory.
God saved you and me so that we might be His “trophies.” We serve as examples to others of God’s love and mercy at work in and through a human life.
Many people seem to think that the only reason for salvation is so that a person might go to heaven when he dies. Eternal life is part of God’s plan of forgiveness, but that is not the sole reason for our salvation. God saved us so that we each might reflect His nature—that we might be His people on this earth, doing the kinds of works that Jesus Himself would do if He were walking in our shoes, through our world, during our lifetime. God desires to manifest His character through our personalities and giftedness.
When we allow His Holy Spirit to work in us and through us to others, we become vessels of His love in action. We reflect His compassion, love, and mercy to others. And in so doing, we are His witnesses. We bring credit, honor, and glory to Him.
3. I am most like Jesus when I serve others.
The foremost characteristic of the life of Jesus Christ was and is service. We are most like Him when we serve as He served.
Many seem to think that a person is most like Jesus when he preaches like Jesus preached, teaches like Jesus taught, heals like Jesus healed, or performs miracles like Jesus performed miracles. They look only at the outward manifestation of a person’s witness and ministry.
They need to look beyond the outer manifestation to the motivation for Jesus’ life. That motivation was always service. Jesus preached, taught, healed, and performed miracles in order to help others, never to call attention to Himself. He poured out His very life so that others might be saved, never thinking for a moment to save Himself. Paul caught exactly the right tone when he wrote, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
God has called you to serve others just as Jesus served others. He didn’t save you or call you to service so that you might be exalted, praised, glorified, or put on a pedestal. He saved you so that you might serve others, and in so doing bring praise and honor to God’s holy name. He blesses you so that you might bless others.
The good news is that any person who is saved can serve God and bring glory to Him. The nature of the ministry task or calling is not the important thing; what is important is the motivation behind our service.
God loved us so that we might love others. He blesses us so that we might bless others. In a nutshell, that’s what the Christian life is all about.



Life Principle #25
God blesses us so that we might bless others.





What the Bible Says
Accountability Relationships
In an age of individual rights, the principle of accountability runs strongly against the popular grain. Our pride, egotism, and self-sufficiency rebel against the concept of being accountable to one another for our conduct.
Yet accountability is a strong biblical teaching that greatly enhances our spiritual and vocational pursuits. Scripture tells us that God has made us accountable both to Him and to others.
Accountability provides a wise check and balance. Whether it be a supervisor at work or a personal friend, we all need someone who will be able both to admonish and encourage us. God allows others to observe and frankly discuss our areas of weakness, which otherwise could result in eventual ruin.
Let’s face it: Nobody likes to admit his shortcomings. But in submitting to someone we hold in high esteem, or one in authority over us, we are winners. We stimulate our performance and help keep ourselves from turning freedom into license.
Even though he was the preeminent apostle of his day, Paul remained accountable to his home church at Antioch, returning there on occasion to report on his journeys. As a temperamental young preacher, Timothy was accountable to Paul. Jesus had sent out his disciples, not just for mutual support, but for accountability.
Rather than avoid or chafe in such relationships, we should thank God for very practical means of promoting our spiritual growth and developing our sense of responsibility.
Our ultimate accountability, of course, is to the Lord. “So then each of you shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). Knowing that we must one day answer to a just God should be a powerful incentive for holiness and obedience. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each may one day receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).
Becoming a Christian does not relieve us of personal responsibility. Although our sins have been forgiven through Christ’s sacrifice, we still are responsible for our behavior. What we do on earth matters. We are free in Christ, but we are also bondservants of Christ.
God has so designed us that we need to remain continually aware of our accountability to an all-knowing Creator, as well as our accountability in personal relationships. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Prov. 27:17).

Life Principle #25
God blesses us so that we might bless others.




What the Bible Says
The Best Friend You Will Ever Have
Many of us know the familiar hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” We all consider our Savior a great friend—but none of us have an exhaustive knowledge of the heights, depths, and breadth of His amazing friendship. Consider just a few of the elements of Jesus’ loving relationship with you.


He has committed Himself to you as a friend for life. In fact, this commitment lasts more than an earthly lifetime; it’s eternal. He will never leave you, no matter what you do. You may suffer some dashed expectations in your lifetime, but the Lord Himself will never disappoint you.
He remains open and transparent to you at all times. Jesus will show you as much about Himself as you desire to learn and are able to appreciate. He will never keep from you anything about Himself that you need to know.
He renews His loving overtures to you every day. He knows how to meet your deepest longings, and He remains sensitive to your wants as well as your needs.
Jesus is an inspiring, comforting listener who will never thoughtlessly interrupt or be quick to criticize you. He attends wholeheartedly to your requests. He has so lovingly fixed His eyes on you that His heart hears exactly what you say.
What kind of friend is Jesus? John 15:13 answers that question: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Jesus is the kind of friend who willingly laid down His life as payment for your sins—past, present, and future. Without complaint, He bore all your sorrows and suffering, while pledging never to leave you or forsake you (see John 14:18). Jesus is the friend who sticks closer than a brother (see Prov. 18:24), the friend who walks by your side through everything.
And because Jesus gave Himself once for many people, we His followers can give ourselves for a few. “He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). Who in your circle of influence needs the sacrifice of your time or caring?



What the Bible Says
Accountability Relationships

In an age of individual rights, the principle of accountability runs strongly against the popular grain. Our pride, egotism, and self-sufficiency rebel against the concept of being accountable to one another for our conduct.

Yet accountability is a strong biblical teaching that greatly enhances our spiritual and vocational pursuits. Scripture tells us that God has made us accountable both to Him and to others.

Accountability provides a wise check and balance. Whether it be a supervisor at work or a personal friend, we all need someone who will be able both to admonish and encourage us. God allows others to observe and frankly discuss our areas of weakness, which otherwise could result in eventual ruin.

Let’s face it: Nobody likes to admit his shortcomings. But in submitting to someone we hold in high esteem, or one in authority over us, we are winners. We stimulate our performance and help keep ourselves from turning freedom into license.

Even though he was the preeminent apostle of his day, Paul remained accountable to his home church at Antioch, returning there on occasion to report on his journeys. As a temperamental young preacher, Timothy was accountable to Paul. Jesus had sent out his disciples, not just for mutual support, but for accountability.

Rather than avoid or chafe in such relationships, we should thank God for very practical means of promoting our spiritual growth and developing our sense of responsibility.

Our ultimate accountability, of course, is to the Lord. “So then each of you shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). Knowing that we must one day answer to a just God should be a powerful incentive for holiness and obedience. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each may one day receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).

Becoming a Christian does not relieve us of personal responsibility. Although our sins have been forgiven through Christ’s sacrifice, we still are responsible for our behavior. What we do on earth matters. We are free in Christ, but we are also bondservants of Christ.

God has so designed us that we need to remain continually aware of our accountability to an all-knowing Creator, as well as our accountability in personal relationships. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Prov. 27:17).

What the Bible Says
The Best Friend You Will Ever Have

Many of us know the familiar hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” We all consider our Savior a great friend—but none of us have an exhaustive knowledge of the heights, depths, and breadth of His amazing friendship. Consider just a few of the elements of Jesus’ loving relationship with you.


He has committed Himself to you as a friend for life. In fact, this commitment lasts more than an earthly lifetime; it’s eternal. He will never leave you, no matter what you do. You may suffer some dashed expectations in your lifetime, but the Lord Himself will never disappoint you.
He remains open and transparent to you at all times. Jesus will show you as much about Himself as you desire to learn and are able to appreciate. He will never keep from you anything about Himself that you need to know.
He renews His loving overtures to you every day. He knows how to meet your deepest longings, and He remains sensitive to your wants as well as your needs.
Jesus is an inspiring, comforting listener who will never thoughtlessly interrupt or be quick to criticize you. He attends wholeheartedly to your requests. He has so lovingly fixed His eyes on you that His heart hears exactly what you say.

What kind of friend is Jesus? John 15:13 answers that question: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Jesus is the kind of friend who willingly laid down His life as payment for your sins—past, present, and future. Without complaint, He bore all your sorrows and suffering, while pledging never to leave you or forsake you (see John 14:18). Jesus is the friend who sticks closer than a brother (see Prov. 18:24), the friend who walks by your side through everything.

And because Jesus gave Himself once for many people, we His followers can give ourselves for a few. “He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). Who in your circle of influence needs the sacrifice of your time or caring?



Life Examples
Barnabas: Always an Encouraging Word
Wherever Barnabas went, people’s faces lit up. They knew that his presence brought a kind word, a helpful suggestion, and a load of encouragement.
In fact, that’s how he got his name. He was born Joses or Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, but his reassuring and cheerful ways soon prompted the apostles to give him the nickname Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36).
Without Barnabas, there might never have been an apostle Paul. It was Barnabas who introduced Saul to the church when everyone else was afraid of him (Acts 9:26–30). And when the apostles sent Barnabas to check up on a young church, he “encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (Acts 11:23, 24).
Don’t you agree that we could use a few more believers like Barnabas?

Love Prayers and Blessings
Lisa


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