Be Prepared Part 2:
On Sunday 11th September at our morning service, we continued our series 'Be Prepared'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
To listen to the talk on-line, please click here.
To download the talk to listen to off line, please click here.
There are times in our lives when we can be selfish. Whether this is when we don’t share our favourite jelly babies or more seriously when it affects our attitudes to money, our relationships and attitudes.
Being selfish can have serious negative consequences on our lives. If we are selfish in our attitudes to our money it can affect how we spend it and may lead to issues such as debt. If we are selfish in our relationships it may cause emotional problems as we become bitter about things not revolving around us.
So how should we live our lives? Being selfish is probably not the way.
Fortunately for us one of Jesus’ first followers, a guy named Paul wrote a letter to the early Christians in an area call Galatia (which is now part of modern Turkey). In this letter (which is known as Galatians) he deals with some of the ways that Christians should live their lives.
In the second part of the bible, known as The New Testament, we read in Galatians chapter 5 and verses 13-26.You can read this by clicking here.
It starts off by saying that we were called to be free. This may be a surprise to some of you, especially if you wouldn’t call yourself a Christian. Your experience or preconceptions about Christians may cause you to think the opposite, with Christians being pre-occupied with rules and regulations and not doing things. But this passage starts off by telling us the opposite. God wants us to be free.
This freedom though comes with responsibilities; we should live our lives for others and we should serve others humbly. It also explains that the Holy Spirit, which is God’s presence with us here and now, will help us to fight the natural human instincts that lead us to just live our lives for ourselves and helps us to live our lives for others. This is summed up in the commandment that Jesus gave which Paul repeats in this part of his letter, “Love your neighbour as yourself”. In this case your neighbour could be anyone. It could be someone that you wouldn’t normally associate with, as Jesus referenced in his story of the Good Samaritan, which is recorded for us in chapter 10 of Luke’s account of Jesus’ life.
So the Holy Spirit may take us completely out of our comfort zone when it helps us to live a selfless life for others. This could cause us to end up doing things that we would never have considered ourselves (including in my case, talking in church on Sunday morning and writing this blog post).
But, we will also discover that is not completely a one-way street. If we serve others with the right attitude studies have shown that we get something back for our effort. This can be a sense of having more time, greater social bonds, which in turn leads to us being loved and appreciated more, and also a greater satisfaction with our own lives. However, it is worth remembering that the studies also showed that these benefits only became apparent in people if they were serving others for the right reasons, that is, for the benefit of others and not for selfish reasons.
In conclusion we can live lives that benefit and impact those around us if we live selflessly through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your small group
1. Do you agree that our culture today leads us to be selfish? Can you give some examples?
2. In what way could selfish behaviour lead to financial and relational problems?
3. What areas of your life do you have a tendency to be selfish in?
4. How does this affect the people around us? (If you are not aware of this, ask those who are close to you for some honest feedback!)
5. Have you had any experience of the Holy Spirit prompting you to be less selfish? (You might refer this to ‘your conscience “pricking” you’)
6. In what areas of our lives can we serve others? If you would call yourself a Christian it would be worth spending some time in prayer and listening to what God may be saying to you as you consider the answer to this question.