For a Christian that desires to display more of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives and grow into full maturity, the first question that typically comes to mind is…how?
Unfortunately, training in this area is severely lacking. Most are given a recipe like read your Bible, pray and go to church. An entire book could be written about how sub-optimal and incomplete that advice is.
So I thought I’d give you what may be the most important lesson regarding how to walk in the Spirit that you could ever receive. OK, I may be exaggerating a little. But then again, maybe not. You can decide.
Jesus told & showed His disciples it
Jesus gave this lesson to his disciples. He undoubtedly had to repeat it countless times. After they finally understood it, they started practicing it.
Then they passed it to the people that received their message. Then they repeated it and wrote it in letters as they worked with churches that formed. They knew it was foundational to being new humans in a new Kingdom.
I know this is one tool of many on the path of transformation. I could be wrong, but I think it’s the most important one. With that said, it’s also the most difficult to use and use consistently well.
With no hesitation, I’ve decided to give it away at no cost to you :).
If used regularly, doing what I’m about to share with you will help transform you to more instinctively display the fruit of the Spirit naturally.
Here it is…
In every relationship and situation, decide that you’re going to be the least important person. Then use this posture and attitude in every conversation you’re in and for every choice you make.
When you hold to this posture and attitude, guess what happens? You display the fruit of the Spirit. If you’re truly acting like the least important person, you choose what the Spirit wants to do.
If you re-program yourself to increasingly take on the posture that you are the least important person in every relationship and situation, you’ll instinctively be looking to benefit others instead of yourself. This is what sacrificial love is; and it’s the place from which all of the other fruit flow.
For example, if my wife is wanting to talk about something I care nothing about, my natural inclination is to stop listening, get distracted and think about something else.
But if I focus my mind on taking the posture and attitude of being the least important person in the conversation, I only have one choice. I must listen intently and engage with her. If I don’t, I’m choosing the posture and attitude that I’m more important than her.
The greatest in the Kingdom
We all know that Jesus told his disciples that the greatest in the Kingdom would be the one who serves (Luke 22:24-27). This doesn’t start with your attempts to do things for people though. It starts with your assumed status in relation to others.
It wasn’t impressive that Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. That was happening everywhere in that culture. What was impressive and shocking is that He made Himself of lower status than them. This is what was impactful to the disciples.
This is also why He said the greatest would be like the youngest. The youngest in their society didn’t do the most for others. They were the least important people.
People mistakenly believe that doing things for people is being a servant. But that’s not true. If you do those things while taking a posture and giving off an aura that you’re a more important person, you’re not great in the Kingdom. You just did a lot of stuff for a lot of people for whatever your motivation was.
You can be right about a doctrine or right in a conflict and be wrong in your approach. When you do this, you’re wrong even though you’re right.
Greatness in the Kingdom doesn’t come from being right, but from displaying the fruit of the Spirit. The posture and aura of being the least important person is the activator for the fruit of the Spirit to work in and through you.
It’s the prerequisite to Kingdom behavior. It’s the foundation for behaving like Christ. It’s the activator of living by Divine Life.
We’re designed for this to be mutual
Now let’s take this a step further…
Kingdom relationships are those where everyone involved is doing this. Now you may be thinking, “How can everyone be the least important person in a relationship? If I’m the least important person, then someone else can’t be.”
I’ll answer that with a question. How can the Father be IN the Son and the Son be IN the Father? What’s going on between them is that each member is pointing faithfully and selflessly to the other in a gracious circle. They exalt each other, commune with each other, and defer to each other.
The Greek word for this mutual indwelling is related to our word for choreography. It’s like a dance.
This kind of relationship is the design for human relationships as well; no matter what form they’re in. Husbands and wives. Parents and children. Brothers and sisters. Each person was designed to treat others as more important. This is what loving relationships are. We were designed for this dance.
If and when you try this, you will fail a lot. You’ll succeed more than you have in the past, but you will fail more than you succeed.
Don’t beat yourself up. Apologize or do what you have to do and move on. There is no condemnation for those in Christ. Transformation is a process. Keep practicing. If you do, it will transform your soul over time. Sacrificial love will become more instinctual.
If you try this, I’d love to hear stories about what happens.