Part 1: Why It’s Important | Part 2: Why It’s OK to Moralize, This Time | Part 3: Aligning Your Values | Part 4: Aligning Your Focus | Part 5: Letting Go | Part 6: Getting Low | Part 7: Sacrificing Yourself
You’re not going to be called on, like Christ, to die for the sins of the world. But wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, God has called you to be like Christ, to represent him well (2Co 5.20) by serving others rather than being fixated on yourself.
How can you live that out in your ordinary life?
- You can notice when someone around you could use a hand. Hold a door; pick up what someone’s dropped; tell a friend there’s ink on his face.
- You can decide to spend less time thinking about your own happiness, or success, or popularity, or grooviness,* and think instead about how you can help other people get those things. Pass the ball. Redirect the spotlight. Make somebody else look good.
- You can think about the effect of your actions on people you don’t see right now. Clean up after yourself; pick up trash off the sidewalk. Don’t say every clever thing that pops into your head. Leave a loose end on the roll of toilet paper.
- You can choose to obey regulations and laws you think—or know—you don’t need, because that helps everybody, in more ways than you can imagine.
- You can take responsibility for your own actions instead of blaming your misfortunes on someone else. You got the grade you got because you didn’t study, not because the test was stupid. You got a speeding ticket because you violated a policy that you already knew about, not because the cop hates you.
- You can think about the things you’re good at—everyone’s good at something—and figure out who you know that could use your help with that. Did you do well in school? How about tutoring someone who’s struggling? Are you tall? How about getting stuff off the high shelves for the rest of us?
- You can walk circumspectly—looking around—watching for situations that could use your help, and do what you can, even if it’s not something you’re particularly good at. You can go out of your way, inconvenience yourself, be late to something, miss a bus, because somebody just needed a little help.
- You can look for ways to be kind to someone you don’t like. He’s voting for that other guy. He advocates positions that are stupid. He’s a jerk. He’s nasty to you. Rather than unfriending him :-), how about watching his posts to see if there’s something he needs or wants that you can provide? How about encouraging him privately when he’s angry or afraid or sad? How about praying for him—grace, mercy, peace?
- You can notice when other people are kind to you, or help you, or do things that benefit you, and you can thank them for it, specifically.
You may never be at the homecoming dance at Richmond High. You may never need to be a hero. But you can live every day in a way that benefits the people around you.
By God’s grace and with His help, you can be like Christ.
* I use a word that’s hopelessly outdated to make a point. Whatever the term for “popular” or “admired” is in the current culture, it will be outdated in a few years—so outdated that people will laugh when you use it, taking it as an indication that you are hopelessly behind the times and thus the very opposite of what the word used to mean. Public admiration is a transient and ethereal thing. We seek it as if it were a thing of value, and it isn’t.