This journey of faith? It isn’t meant to be a solo trip.

I didn’t get that at first. I was too excited about my salvation, my Jesus, my new life in Him. It really was all about me (how embarrassing). Then someone (gently) pointed out what people who love Jesus are called to do for one another.

Okay, then. It isn’t about me at all. It’s about God loving others through me — or through anyone He might choose. We’re simply vessels. Clay jars. Terracotta pots with a hole in the bottom, so water can flow through, rather than damage healthy roots.

This is what the Christian life is meant to look like: God pouring His living water not only in us, but also through us.

Right. So, here are some ways we can stop singing in the key of me-me-me and learn to serve the Lord — and others — with gladness.

1. “Honor one another above yourselves” {Romans 12:10}.

We’re not just talking about showing respect to other believers. We’re talking about putting them first. Above us. Ahead of us.

Easy to say, but often hard to do — at least, for this girl. Any sort of willingness to place others first comes from God. Only by His power can we embrace humility. Only by His strength can we learn how to play second fiddle and enjoy the tune.

2. “Live in harmony with one another” {Romans 12:16}.

Imagine being of the same mind with the people you do life with. Agreeing with one another. Quickly making amends. Staying in sync. Living together in peace.

A life without drama, without arguments, without slamming doors or raising voices. If we want a harmonious life, we need to care more about being kind than being right.

3. “Accept one another” {Romans 15:7}.

When you buy an item from the sale table marked “as is,” you know there’s a flaw somewhere, yet agree to overlook it. That’s what it means to accept one another, without judging, comparing, whining, or complaining.

If we could do this in our homes, that would be game-changing enough. If we could also do this in our churches, then every Sunday would be a family reunion, filled with hugs and shining faces and heartfelt good wishes and generous giving.

4. “Be kind and compassionate to one another” {Ephesians 4:32}.

As lovely as these descriptive words are — also translated “tenderhearted” and “merciful” and “sympathetic” and “understanding” — what it really comes down to is forgiveness.

Seeking or offering forgiveness is more than shared cups of tea and notes tucked in purses. It’s rubber-meets-the-road Christianity.

“Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” {Ephesians 4:32, MSG}

5. “Encourage one another and build each other up” {1 Thessalonians 5:11}.

Hidden inside encourage is the Greek word for heart. When we encourage one another, we fill each other’s hearts, we build up rather than tear down, we look for ways to brighten rather than diminish.

Thumper’s father taught him, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” Our heavenly Father’s advice? “Find something nice to say and say it.”

6. “Spur one another on toward love and good deeds” {Hebrews 10:24}.

It’s easy to stay home, to chill out, to seek our own pleasure. But God calls and equips us to do far more. To get out there, to help others, to change our corner of the world.

At the end of the day, it’s loving and serving one another that satisfies our deepest longing to be part of something bigger than ourselves, to be one beautiful terracotta pot among many.

A lawn full of garden pots

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  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    This was a “just at the right time” post for me. I went to bed angry and woke up with this same sense of wanting to be right. Many times I have put wanting to be right above all else and I always end up with the same disastrous results. Can you say slow learner? This morning I am going to put being kind, loving, and forgiving before being right and see how the day goes. Thank you for being God’s lovely messenger, just in the nick of time!! Loved this post!!

    • Lynn D. Morrissey

      Bev, I wanted to be sure that you saw my response to you yesterday at Jennifer Dukes Lee’s post at In-Courage. I wrote to you there later in the day. God bless you!

      • Bev @ Walking Well With God

        Yes, thanks Lynn, I got it…have just not had time to send emails…Thanks for your care and concern.

        • Lynn D. Morrissey

          Great, thanks Bev.

    • Elizabeth Higgs

      I’m a slow learner too, Bev. Totally get the need to be right (sigh). Praying God gives you lots of ways to encourage others today, so that you see Him at work and rejoice in how He is using you!

  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    Liz, when we first meet Jesus, it’s just so wonderful to have a personal relationship with Him that we forget that we are to share Him with other persons! I’ve been guilty of that. Thank you for such a practical post that actually shows us *how* to share the love of Christ with a world who needs Him. I really want to try.
    Bless you,

  • Pat

    Liz, how can we post this to America? With the deaths, the unrest, and the tearing down of our believes these past few weeks, we need a positive reminder to be Christ-like everyday, not for a few hours on Sunday. You have listed positive steps to follow to treat people with kindness. Let’s go back to the golden rule: treat people the way you want to be treated. Bless you.

    • Jodi

      Amen, Pat! :)

  • Doris Swift

    Thank you Liz! I’ve been talking with the grandkids about putting others’ needs before our own. I think I’ll read this post to them! You are always a blessing :)

  • Nancy Ruegg

    Thank you, Liz, for the roundup of ways we can bless others, and in so doing, forget about ourselves and our desires. We can honor others with our praise for jobs well done, create harmony in our relationships by holding back criticism, make allowances for personality differences and preferences, encourage each other with supportive comments, and spur one another on with gratitude. (Acknowledgement is a strong motivator!) You are so right: our homes and churches would be transformed by such attitudes and actions. And think of the ripple effect impact upon neighbors, communities, and the world! God help us to be His hands and voice of love to those around us. (And God bless Liz, for being an inspiration!)

  • http://ChasingHoliness.com/ Brenda

    Lovely, Liz. Why have I never considered the hole in the bottom of my human clay pot? Great connection with the water flowing through us, not just to us. Thanks for sharing. :)

  • Holly

    This was awesome! First of all, the line about singing in the key of me-me-me? Profound and spot on! What a powerful way to remember it’s not all about us. Loved this post!

  • Karen K. Sugrue

    Thank you. I needed to read this. I have not been speaking to my mom and sister for about two months because I thought I was right and didn’t want to swallow my pride and consider their side of things. I am slowly realizing that it doesn’t really matter who’s right, all God requires of us is to forgive and love one another.

  • Beth Williams

    Lately I have been “thinking” of criticizing my hubby for some faults. But quickly I hear “a soft answer turns away wrath”. So I pray to keep my mouth shut and say things in a nice way. Never really thought about myself as a pot with a hole to pour out God’s love. Great analogy!!
    My God given talent is encouragement so I naturally bend in that direction. In that sense I pray to accept people and that God will help them with whatever problem they are having. I also send cards, letters, etc. to let the world know how I feel and that God loves them!
    Blessings :)

  • Lisa Garibaldi

    This my morning devotion today. But, i need to read this daily. Thank you.for sharing this! its summer break.with the kids and i havent been nice with my words. Im going to write this on post its and putting it through out our home. Its a very helpful reminder. Thank you.Lord for giving us a brand new day. Anyone that you place in our path today, let us reflect your love to them, being kind, gentle and love them. Thank you for loving us, giving us grace dily, forgiving is, and or our beating heart. Amen

  • Linda Anderson Soriano

    I’ve recently discovered, through my God, that it’s not about being wrong/right, but about accepting the other person and understanding that this is just who he is. These past months have been much more peaceful and we’ve had fewer arguments. Thank you Jesus!

  • Jodi

    This is beautiful, Liz! I have been so blessed and encouraged! I will keep this message close by, in plain sight, as a reminder (how quickly the quiet, simple truths can get crowded out of our thoughts by so much of the loudness in today’s world)! Thank you for sharing! ♥

  • Ema

    Thank you for this message. I am used to keeping to myself and if I can’t say something nice I don’t say anything. It is good to learn that the love of Jesus must flow through me to others especially in the household of God

  • Angela Nazworth

    Oh Liz, Thank you for this. The scripture verses that support encouragement and togetherness are priceless.