JESUS SERVED: WE SERVE – A Change of Behavior
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. —Mark 10:45
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. — Philippians 4:4-9
Changing one’s behavior is no small feat; it in fact requires a person to be deliberate in their actions. When we are children, it is a bit easier as we have a number of people, circumstances, and institutions pointing us in the right direction and reinforcing certain behaviors over and over. This intentionality can be seen from the home to the classroom to the relationships in children.
As we move, though, throughout this journey, it takes those repeated actions to ingrain in us behaviors. What can happen, though, is we can begin turning away from those people or places that’ve brought us some semblance of peace in our lives and begin to seek out other things that, on the surface, seem more exciting. After the fact we certainly see that the behavior can actually be destructive.
Paul tells us that even when we engage in wrong behavior, we need to be reminded that it is actually on Jesus that gives us peace. This last candle in advent brings us to that realization. But he also gives us some behaviors to actually practice that can help lead us to experience this. Interestingly, not only are these the behaviors that Jesus demonstrated when He came to serve us, but they are also ones that we exhibit when we are serving others.
The more we deliberately serve others, the more we begin to look like Jesus. While we may try other means to experience these things to have them be a part of who are are, until we change our behavior, our belief, our thinking, we don’t actually demonstrate the peace of Christ—as well as other things to which Paul refers in Philippians. Serving others aids in helping us merely know what some of these Christ-like characteristics are into reflecting who Christ is.
Setting our minds on the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ is where we begin. This mindset helps in what we actually believe. Our belief is a reflection of what—or whom— we love. Serving others is a tangible way to demonstrate how Christ has loved us, as He came to serve us. The joy that comes from that, the heart change we experience, will cause us to form deliberate habits to practice, and, subsequently, begin to transform our daily behaviors. Only then, when we serve others like Jesus served us, will we see our communities, our families, our friends — ourselves! — transformed and experience what Paul says in Philippians 4:7: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
You can download the JESUS SERVED: WE SERVE Advent Resource Guide here.