November 06, 2020
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. (Romans 15:1-2)
The broad, natural path for me is to live to please myself. It is my default position—the path I travel without thinking. If I am not fighting against it, I instantly and always chose the path that pleases me alone.
A conscious death must occur for that to change.
Paul reported that he had to "die daily." He was following in sync with His Master who said that if we want to follow Him, we must deny ourselves and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). But this is not a negative command. It is a call to a higher, more fulfilling life by following Christ and living to help others.
Paul says to the Romans that "each of us to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification." Let's start with our nearest neighbor. Who is that for you? If your married it is your wife.
A PRACTICAL STEP
I sat down today and began to write out everything I know I could do that would be pleasing to my wife, that would bless her and edify her. (Perhaps you could do this with your nearest neighbor). It wasn't a long list, but it was highly important. And, interestingly, it's some very selfish things that I have a hard time giving up or engaging in. Try making that list yourself for a minute. It's fascinating how easy it comes and how hard to fulfill. I think this is because of the weakness of our flesh and our natural bent to self-centeredness. At least it is for me.
By the grace of God and with His strengthening, I'm going to seek to deny myself and live to please her for her good and edification. But I know, right off, it is going to take some death to what I naturally want—what pleases me—and some reliance on God's Spirit in me to fulfill. But I also know it will bring great blessing to my wife. A death to self that brings life to others!
Father, thank You for choosing my interest over your own. For loving me even when I was unlovable. Help me recognize the selfishness that so often marks my life. And give me grace to lay aside what is selfish and choose what is selfless in serving you and others.
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