26.1 Servanthood: Living The Golden Rule.


Section Three: The Lifestyle Characteristics of a Godly Life.

Our current theme: Characteristic One: Having A Servant’s Heart.                     

Our reading for today: Matthew 7: 12 (MsgB)

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.

There are many popular expressions of truth out there in our culture. I like to call them “words of wisdom.” Short, little sayings that offer us a bit of truth in a world that, quite honestly, seems to have lost all sense of sanity at times. But as much as I love some of these pithy, little sayings, I must also warn you that many of the more popular expressions out there are often wrongly associated with our Holy Scriptures. In fact, I’ve met people over the years who are convinced that I’m wrong when I try suggesting to them, “That phrase is not in the Bible!” Let me give you just a few of my favorite examples…

God helps those who help themselves.

Cleanliness is next to godliness.

God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.

If you work hard enough, you’ll be successful.

Just follow your heart and believe, and you can do anything.

Good words…but not from the Good Book!

But take heart, my friends, there is actually one very wise saying out there that can actually find its origins in God’s Word. Many call it “The Golden Rule,” and it’s usually quoted this way:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

And while that’s the old King James rendition of Matthew 7: verse 12, I really prefer the way Eugene Peterson translates Jesus’ words in The Message Bible; our verse for today’s study. Let’s read it again:

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.

Matthew’s gospel has Jesus speaking “The Golden Rule” at the end of what many call His Sermon on the Mount, or the Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7), with this classic verse serving as the powerful summary to the Master’s discourse on living a life that honors and glorifies God.

So, as we begin this final section of our blog series on Christian discipleship, I think it wise to stop here a moment and reflect a bit upon Jesus’ Golden Rule. Don’t you?

So, let me ask you…

Can you think of a situation that came your way over the last few days where you had a golden opportunity to live out Jesus’ Golden Rule? You know…one of those awkward moments in life when you really wanted something for yourself but you realized someone else wants it as well?

Maybe it was a big thing like that long-awaited, (and well-deserved!) job promotion you and your office mate are both competing for? Or maybe it was as small of a thing as that parking space closer to the mall entrance?

How about that last piece of pizza sitting on the plate at dinner last night?

Or what about that single mom with her three screaming kids, standing right behind you as you are waiting in line to check out of the supermarket? A new line opens up beside you and you have only six items in your cart, while the lady with the out-of-control brats has her cart filled to the brim with junk food!

Hmm? What would Jesus have to say about that?

Naaah. Not today. I’m too (fill in the blank) to be nice. I’ll take that job promotion over my office buddy. I’ll snag that parking spot. That last piece of pizza is getting cold, I’ll eat it. I only have six items in my cart. Besides, I gave up my seat on the bus last week for that elderly lady. Remember?

And then, if you’re like me, later in the day, I might realize (if I’m not too busy)…

Oh-oh. I bet that was a test of Jesus’ Golden Rule.

Dang. I failed again.

But rather than allow guilt and shame to win out, here’s my suggestion. Let’s set ourselves up for success. Let’s begin anew tomorrow with this prayer in our hearts…

My prayer: Jesus, in all truthfulness, I am a pretty poor example of one who lives out your Golden Rule. I confess my self-centeredness, my self-serving attitude, and I need Your help. In my weakness, Lord, I come to You for Your strength. Holy Spirit, indwell me and empower me to look for one or two small opportunities today where I can grab the initiative, and become a blessing to another person. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: So what current situation around me is calling out for an application of Jesus’ Golden Rule? What proactive steps can I take today, with the help of God’s Spirit, to bring a heart of servanthood where selfishness and self-consumption are currently in control?

So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?

Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!

If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!

Click here to go onto the next session in the series…

Click here to go back to our A Servant’s Heart homepage…

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