God wants us to deny ourselves but not just for the sake of giving them up. God knows what binds us from living our abundant life in Christ. In essence, when Jesus promises abundant life, he promises loving relationships first and foremost with God, then with ourselves, then with our sphere of influence. Of course, when we love ourselves it means we find our worth and security in the love of God, not the sickening self-worship that puts my pride and selfish desires above all else. When we receive Christ’s Spirit to live in us, we find our worth and security in Christ, and we can put to death—surrender to God—the insecurities and selfish desires, and allow the indwelling Spirit to bless others in our sphere of influence. The more we can live out this conviction, the more God can bless others through us.
I fail often to put this into practice. Take an ex-client for an example. They thought they had settled with insurance and so they canceled all insured care provided by us. They owed us some payments. After over a month of non-payment, thinking I had nothing to lose, I sent them a statement with the “Past Due” stamp. Meanwhile, they became unhappy with the tentative settlement and fired their lawyer. Now the insurance company tells us they might resume care because they are now back to the “unsettled” state and insurance would resume payments for their care. But it’s up to the client to re-engage us for care. I might have burned that bridge with the client with the past due statement.
I feel that God has used my sin to teach me a lesson. The past due amount was only $300 and change. I could have let it go but I took a “nothing to lose” attitude and tried to intimidate them with a “past due” statement, hoping to get some money back. It would have been the legitimate “business thing” to do but I know my heart, which contained no mercy when I decided to send that statement. God uses the language that I understand—prospect of more income—to teach me how not to set aside agapé even in the smallest business transaction to play win-lose. Further, if the bill was for an influential network contact, I would never have sent it.
Thank you, Lord, for showing me my despicable self that continuously need your transformation.