For Pure Motives in Service

But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. (1 Corinthians 12:18–20) Father, You made all of us with different personalities, with different gifts and responsibilities, and yet You choose to mingle us together in the same body of believers, over which Christ is Head.

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Putting Down Pride

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. (1 John 2:16) Now, our Father, in the simple, plain terms of sinners, we thank You for using for your glory those of us who are given to ugly pride and controlling dominance.

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Living the Truth

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you . . . . Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:12–13, 17)

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Principles

I think we need to sign a mental declaration of independence. Let’s put our names on the line, pledging ourselves with firm resolve, much like those brave men did on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia when they signed the Declaration of Independence. Did you know that of the fifty-six courageous men who signed that original document in Philadelphia, many did not survive the war that followed?

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Accountability

What do we mean by accountability? In the simplest terms, it is answering the hard questions. Accountability includes opening one’s life to a few carefully selected, trusted, loyal confidants who speak the truth—who have the right to examine, to question, to appraise, and to give counsel. People who are accountable usually have four qualities:

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Leadership

If we hope to demonstrate the level of excellence modeled by Jesus Christ, then we’ll have to come to terms with the kingdom we are going to serve: the eternal kingdom our Lord represented and told us to seek (Matt. 6:23) or the temporal kingdom of today. Let’s pause long enough to understand what I’m referring to when I mention the kingdom. It’s one of those terms we like to use but seldom define.

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Individuality

One of the great American myths is that we are all a bunch of rugged individualists. We would like to think that, but it simply is not true. There are some exceptions, of course, but for the majority it is not that way at all. Deep within, we imagine ourselves as a mixture of Patrick Henry, Davy Crockett, John Wayne, and the prophet Daniel! But the truth of the matter is that most of us would do anything to keep from being different.

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Dreams

There is an important dimension to hanging tough that you dare not miss. It is the thing that keeps you going. I call it a dream. I don’t mean those things we experience at night while we’re asleep. No, by dream, I mean a God-given idea, plan, agenda, or goal that leads to God-honoring results.

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Commitment

People of excellence are those who see through the clutching greed of our times—people who have declared their undivided allegiance to Christ’s message, people who have humbled themselves to Christ’s sovereign authority. If you are greatly gifted, you may be able to do marvelous things that would cause the public to be swept up in your skills and in your abilities.

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Optimism

Vision—the one essential ingredient for being an original in a day of copies—gets lost, overwhelmed by the odds. Too bad! We start focusing on the trouble. Then we start comparing the odds. The result is predictable: We become intimidated and wind up defeated. What is your challenge? Which giants make you feel like a grasshopper when you face them?

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