Summary: Self-pleasing is the most natural human instinct there is -- we want to climb the ladder. But it will stifle your growth! If you want this year to be different, trade in that attitude for a servant’s heart. *HANDOUT INCLUDED*

Trade in “Self-Life” for “Servant’s Heart”

“Son of man came not to be served, but to serve...”

Life is essentially a series of trade-offs. . . everything plateaus when you’re unwilling to make the next trade-off.


- Trade in “Guilty Conscience” for “Guilt-free living”. . .

- Trade in “powerless living” for “connection with God”. . .

- Trade in “I’ve arrived” for “let’s grow”. . .

One of the basic things that humans do is try to please themselves, no matter what happens to the other guy. It’s absolutely everywhere. It’s in homes. . . it’s in churches. . . it’s in business. . . it’s in government.

You may have heard the story of two friends who met for dinner in a restaurant. Each requested filet of sole, and after a few minutes the waiter came back with their order. Two pieces of fish, a large and a small, were on the same platter. One of the men proceeded to serve his friend. Placing the small piece on a plate, he handed it across the table. "Well, you certainly do have nerve!" exclaimed his friend.

"What’s the matter?" asked the other. "Look what you’ve done," he answered. "You’ve given me the little piece and kept the big one for yourself." "How would you have done it?" the man asked. His friend replied, "If I were serving, I would have given you the big piece." "Well," replied the man, "I’ve got it, haven’t I?" At this, they both laughed.

We have this instinct to try to make ourselves the top dogs. We want to be the #1, to climb the ladder, to be the self-made man. We want to have the big piece of the cake, to have the best company car.

The Bible has a word for this attitude: PRIDE & SELFISHNESS. The results are horrible:


- Watergate

But being a real Christian is the polar opposite of self-pleasing and pride.

Let me give you 5 steps to trade in “self-pleasing” for “others-serving.”

1. Realize that self-promotion is the world’s way toward success.

1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world.”

John calls it “the pride of life” – that self-promoting attitude of pride in what I am, what I’ve accomplished, and what I’m going to accomplish. He says that it is not God’s way. . . it’s of the world.

Maybe you used to call it “ambition.” Maybe you use to think of it as “smart” to live for yourself. Maybe you used to think of it as “the only way to get ahead.”

Based on what the Bible says, I’m asking you to change your mind. I’m asking you to:

2. Decide to climb the ladder God’s way.

James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”

Matthew 23:12 "And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Ironically, the way to go up in God’s kingdom is to go down. If you want to be great in the kingdom of God, you lower yourself and humble yourself before God and others.

You’ll need to begin here by asking God to change you from the inside out. Ask Him to forgive you for your pride and selfishness, and tell Him that from now on, you’re in the business of serving Him.

If you’re a true servant, it won’t matter whether or not you get recognition for the things you do. . . you’ll know that you did your best for God. God will see to it that you receive the joy and satisfaction, and rewards that come with serving Him.

How many of you have heard of “Mother Teresa”?

Let me ask you this: Why have you heard of her? Because she was willing to give her life in nothing but serving others. She never asked for fame. She never asked for riches, or promotion. She only served without selfishness. AND GUESS WHAT??

God exalted her in His time!

3. Focus on others and their needs.

Mr 9:33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, "What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?"

34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest.

35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."

One of the most powerful questions I ask people is this one: “If you could do anything to serve God, and you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?”

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