A Bible Study on Doing Your Best 5.13.20
“The Key to doing Your Best!”
“And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that come through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11
Joshua had a high school baseball coach who we became very good friends with while we were in Lake City. He had played college baseball at Costal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach back in the 80’s. On one of his teams there was a catcher named Kirt Manwaring. Joshua’s coach told us how much different Kirt was than all of the other players. He said that whenever the team got some time off from practice they would all head for town to have a good time and meet some girls, but not Kirt. They would invite him, but he always turned them down. As they got ready to go they found Kirt hitting baseballs in the batting cage or working at his catching skills with one of the coaches. Joshua’s coach said it never changed, Kirt never gave up practicing and working on his game while he was in school. Joshua’s coach said that was why in 1986 he was drafted in the second round by the San Francisco Giants. He made his major league debut two years later. In 1993, he won the gold glove award for the best defensive catcher in the league and threw out 45% of the runners trying to steal bases. Joshua’s coach used to tell his players it takes commitment and a love for the game to give up everything else to follow your dream. Kirt saw his dream come true while the rest of us went out and did other things. It is no wonder Kirt spent 16 years in the major leagues.
What does it take for us to do our best? Can we just wake up every morning and automatically do our best for Jesus? Does doing your best become a habit or do we just try and survive the day? In Philippians, Paul give us the key to doing our best. He prays for the church at Philippi, “…that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight…” We do not immediately become our best when we accept Jesus as our Savior. We have to grow and mature. We are seeking sanctification. We want to be the best we can be for our Savior. Not because we need it for Salvation, but because we want to please Him for all that He has done for us.
We have to learn how to practice love. Some of you may be thinking that you don’t have to think about loving others, but I can only imagine that all of us have people that we have to really try hard to love. As we grow and mature as disciples then our love becomes more and more prominent in our everyday lives. We can’t use excuses for not loving. We must use our abilities to love more and more. We are striving to be our best and when we abound in love we become our best. Let’s investigate what Paul says here in this passage of scripture.
When we discern what is best then our lives begin to reflect the ways that Jesus expects us to live each and every day. It is important that we find ways to enrich our lives so that we may continue to become more like Jesus in our character and our actions.
1. “Becoming pure and blameless for the day of Christ!”
As love abounds in our lives we start doing our best to clean up the areas of our life that do not reflect Jesus. Peter says in his first epistle in chapter 4:8, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love coves a multitude of sin.” That doesn’t mean it hides them, it means it exposes them and destroys them. If something is covered it no longer is seen from. When we allow love to become influential in our lives we begin to do the right thing and not give in to the wrong thing. God’s love is greater than any source that you and I can tap into. We need to bathe ourselves in that love every minute of every day. The more love that proceeds out of our lives the more pure and blameless we become.
Jesus is returning one day. How will He find you? Will you be abounding in love to be the very best disciple you can be? Or will you be like the servant who received one talent and hid it because you were afraid of the master? Don’t hide from allowing love to permeate you very soul. Allow it to move in your life to change you for the better.
There is no wonder that in the list of the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5 that love is the first fruit mentioned. Paul highlights love in 1 Corinthians 13. John talks about love in 1 John 4. The disciples walked and talked with Jesus for over 3 years and the one thing that was impressed on their mind more than anything else was that they were to love one another. It is no wonder that Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you. Love one another.” John 13:34.
Paul prays that you will love to abound in your heart to do your best to present yourself to Jesus pure and blameless.
2. “Filled with the fruit of Righteousness that comes from Christ!”
Which do you do the right thing or the expected thing? The expected thing is not always right in the sight of God. For many years the church did the expected thing. It even went as far as to say one man was not as important as another because of the color of his skin. It was expected so the church fell in line. Thankfully we have learned better. The right thing is to love everyone. The song I learned growing up as a child said, “Red and yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.” If He loves the little children doesn’t He love them when they grow up to become adults?
This is just one example of how we need to make sure that we abound in love to do our best. We need to always seek to do what is right, not what is expected by the majority. We live in a society where we have believed that the majority rules and they must be right. Yet the majority is not always right. The majority can be wrong. Only Jesus’ love can teach us what is right.
One of my problems with this pandemic we are in is that I am just not sure who to believe. One source says one thing and another source says another. How do you make decisions when you are not sure who to believe? I was talking to Caleb on Saturday about what his church was doing about reopening. We got to talking about who you could believe. North Carolina’s leadership is saying something different than what South Carolina’s leadership is saying. Finally we both reminded ourselves that there is only one truth and that is Jesus. We must seek to pray and ask Jesus what we should do and do our best to stay in line with what our local governments are asking us to do.
We must do the right thing out of love. The very best we can do is to allow love to direct our actions and motives. When we do it sincerely and out of a concern for everyone I believe Jesus will know we are doing our best. We cannot just do it based on information given by outside sources. We must pray and seek Godly guidance and then act upon that decision.
When we look at every situation from the eyes of love it makes us see things differently. We must not look from the love of the world, but from the love of Jesus. Jesus’ love was sacrificial. Jesus’ love was an unselfish love. Jesus’ love was never personal. Jesus’ love was the best He had to offer to everyone.
When we respond accordingly then we will know that the love abound in our lives is the best fruit of righteousness that comes from Christ.
3. “To the Glory and Praise of God.”
Everyone likes a pat on the back every once in a while. It makes us feel accepted and worthwhile. Yet our motivation for doing our best for Jesus should never be about us. Paul reminds us that when we abound in love and do our best it is for the “glory and praise of God.” This should be the motivating factor behind our push to be our best. We want God to receive the glory. It is never about you and me. It is never about the exposure of the individual church or ministry. It is always about making sure God is glorified and praised.
We need to point out and award faithful and dedicated service. I am all about recognizing someone’s accomplishments. Yet in the church and in the service of Jesus it is important that we recognize these accomplishments in the light of the glory this person or persons brought to God in their accomplishments. It should never be just about the person.
Doing our best in love is about keeping Jesus in the forefront. It is about making sure everyone knows why we do what we do. Paul made it clear while teaching in the second epistle to Corinth. Here is what he says in the middle of his teaching, “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” Several other times he acknowledges the importance of giving all the glory to God. It is how we do our best.
Jesus even emphasized this fact. He wanted to make sure our service to God wasn’t about what we did, but that God could reward us for being unselfish servants. Jesus said, “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” So what we do should be about glorifying and praising God for He is the rewarder of all things.
Would you rather be rewarded by the one who speaks universes into existence or from a human who has limitations? We should seek the praise of the Father because of our gratitude to Him and what He has already done for us. Our love that is learned from the one who created love helps us to give back to Him what He has blessed us with.
When we respond accordingly to the love of Jesus in our lives we bring glory and praise to God in all we do, act and say.
So how is the “love” in your life doing? I’m not talking about romantic love or brotherly love. I’m talking about unconditional love! The love that doesn’t ask questions or set parameters. The love that reaches beyond any barriers or boarders. A love that has to be from Jesus because you and I cannot produce it by ourselves.
Are you seeking to abound in love to be the best disciple at “loving one another?” Maybe you should pause for just a few minutes and ask the Holy Spirit to help you work on the areas of your life that need more love. Maybe pray and ask Jesus to help you find ways to express that love to the unlovable. Begin today by maybe praying for a situation that you know in your life where you haven’t had much love for someone who may have done you wrong and ask God to help you to love that person in spite of what they did to you. We cannot manufacture that kind of love, but the love of God can.
Once we see the power and influence of God’s love in our lives, we will begin to see the fruit of righteousness and bring glory and praise to God. It is a worthy goal and a very important way to Be our Best!