Humbly Serving out of Love for Christ – Guest blog by Jennifer Slattery

My pride can get in the way of my love—to others and to Christ. Though I long to be one who continually gives of herself, without expecting anything in return or caring how I’m perceived, too often my insecurities overshadow my obedience.

I lead my church’s single moms group, and like most ministries, we have a budget we must adhere to. I want to stretch every dime, which means seeking out bargains, making use of what we have, and when necessary, returning the surplus.

I don’t know why or where this arose, but I have a strange anxiety when it comes to returns. Standing in that line with my receipt in one hand, my bag of unused items in the other, I feel nervous and judged. I worry that the cashier will think I stole the items or that I’m being petty in bringing them back, especially when my bags of unused product contain things like $2 bags of flour. I suspect my jumbled emotions come, in part, from a time when, decades ago, I had shoplifted, and sometimes I can still wear that false identity.

Granted, I often receive a few raised brows and some huffs and eyerolls from the clerk. I’m sure they’ve encountered countless shoppers like me—some who really have hot-fingered the items and others who fight with them over every penny. So I get it. This past Monday, standing in a long, slowly moving return line, I understand the tension, but I also understood my why. I knew I could later use every dollar I spared to bless, in some way, the women I served.

Considering this, perhaps I should’ve stood taller. After all, serving others, however we do so, is a noble, eternally-glorious act. But I didn’t. Instead, I wanted to shrink inside myself. To explain to the others in line and the woman who gave me my refund why I was there and why I brought back so many—five bags worth—of baking supplies.

Though this may seem a silly, perhaps even inconsequential example, in giving voice to unwarranted shame, I robbed myself of a precious, holy moment. Of an opportunity, in some small way—granted, very small way—to experience the joy of humility with my Savior. The One who endured ridicule and emptied Himself completely, for me.

So often, it’s not the big sacrifices that most hinder my love, but those small yet important choices to either protect myself and my image or surrender all I am to reveal God’s grace.

In John chapter twelve, we learn of a woman so overwhelmed with love for her Savior, she entered a room full of men to anoint the soon-to-be crucified king. Scripture tells us: Mary took about a pint[ of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume (John 12:3, NIV).

She used two very precious things, items that would’ve created a startling picture of love, to all in the room. First, she poured her expensive perfume, which may have been her dowry, upon Christ. Then, she lowered her hair, something dignified women would never do in that culture, and used it, her “glory”, to wipe dirty and smelly feet.

In other words, she brought the best of herself to the lowest possible state in humble praise and adoration. And yes, people scoffed, and I imagine some were speechless. But Christ was pleased.

“Leave her alone,” He told the scoffers. “She’s done this for Me” (paraphrase, John 12:7-8).

When we bring all of ourselves and humbly bow at His feet, whether that means picking up trash after church, returning bags of cheap flour, or tenderly washing the feet of the homeless, God is pleased. And to the scoffers, to those who raise eyebrows, misunderstand, or perhaps question our motives, He says, “Leave her alone. She does this for Me.”

BioPhotoJennifer Slattery is a writer and national speaker who has addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and other writers across the nation. She maintains a devotional blog found at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud and on Crosswalk. She has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Love Ministries, she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Contact her HERE to book her for your next women’s event.

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Unless this cowboy recaptures her heart

Returning home with a baby in tow, Paige Cordell’s determined her stay is only temporary. But to earn enough money to leave, she needs a job—and her only option is working at her first love’s dinner theater. With attraction once again unfurling between her and Jed Gilbertson, can the man who once broke her heart convince her to stay for good?

Buy it HERE.

 

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Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals with WL on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk

 

Holiday Devo Cover Front

IT’S HERE! Intentional Holidays is the perfect devotional to keep you focused on Jesus this holiday season. It was so fun to write for this devo with such a talented and grace-filled group of women. We hope this brings you rest and rejoicing through the often chaotic seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Order yours on Amazon asap!

 

How to Live out God’s Character

Goals, pressure, perfection, progress—it’s easy to get sucked into believing we’re the cause of success and growth. But real change happens as God gives us grace to be like Christ according to our willingness to walk with a second place mentality. Transformation happens when we accept His will over self-will, and consider the needs of others above ours. Our culture has it backwards, truth is, Humility—not striving— is the root to bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”(1 Peter 5:5 ESV)

Living like Jesus isn’t impossible. We don’t have to struggle to be more like Jesus any more than a branch has to struggle to bear fruit. Instead, we focus on walking in humility, and the Spirit of God will automatically produce the fruit. Humility keeps us resting in God like a branch rests in the vine. We can learn to walk in this virtue in a practical manner daily; through every choice we surrender to God.

When I was a teenager and a new believer in Christ, the Lord led me to apply this in the most simplistic ways. Whenever my friends and I went out for a drive we’d fight to see who’d ride shotgun. To practice humility, I began to volunteer to sit in the backseat, which was considered the less prominent position within the pack. Through this practice I soon discovered that God’s favor to the humble protects them like a shield (Psalm 5:12).

On one occasion three of us were sitting in the back of the bed of my cousin’s truck. After making a stop, my friend jumped into the back of the truck where I had been sitting. My initial impulse was to insist that he move. But instead, I submitted to the Lord’s prompting to humble myself. A few minutes later a vehicle t-boned the exact spot where I was previously sitting. The friend who took my seat was injured in the accident. In fact, I was the only one who walked away without a scratch. Thankfully no one was seriously injured, but God taught me to trust His voice because He protects those who walk in humility.

So why don’t we choose humility over pride?

Perhaps because some equate it to weakness. On the contrary, we’ll have a strength we never before possessed to seek justice and to stand with the helpless when we follow God. He will help our thoughts shift to prioritize others, and will give us opportunities to practice putting the needs of others ahead of ours.

We’ll have a strength we never before possessed to seek justice and to stand with the helpless when we follow God.

Humbling ourselves is a good defense to combat the enemy of self-will. Pride in the heart hinders the grace of God like a dam backing the flow of water. The humble in heart have a constant source of living water providing growth in any conditions.

Our choice to be humble matters. Proverbs 11:30 says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.”

Sometimes the people we share life with and pray for are not thirsting to know God because we are not manifesting the life of Jesus in our lives. But the more we allow Christ to live through us and our actions, we’ll bear the fruit of His presence, and they will begin to sense and desire the peace, joy, and love He offers. They’ll ask questions about our faith which is a sign that God is drawing them to Himself.

Let’s ask God to make us wise soul-winners by bearing fruit that comes from walking humbly with Him. “Teach us O Lord, to walk in submission to Your Word and to clothe ourselves in the garment of a servant toward others.”      

What practical way can you walk in humility?

 

matt romano headshot - croppedMatthew J. Romano (today’s guest blogger) is an ordained deacon of Christ Church New Jersey. He has been walking with the Lord for over 25 years. His passion is sharing Christ with the lost and teaching believers to walk passionately with the Lord. He currently serves the body of Christ as a deacon, altar ministry to pray for the needs of God’s people, life group leader, guest teacher and speaker of the Word of God, and as a certified teacher in the School of Prayer. He is the author of “The Call: An Invitation to Revival and Transformation” and “The Call: A Study Guide to Revival and Transformation.” Connect with Matt more online. 

 

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Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him.Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals on crosswalk.com