Overcoming Self

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Key Verse:

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” - John 15:13 ESV

If you sat down and listed out every Bible hero you know, chances are that Esther would be on the list and for good reason! Esther risked everything to save the lives of her people. One of the king’s advisors was bent on eradicating every Israelite in the kingdom, and it was up to Queen Esther to approach her husband and beg for their lives. In that culture, no one was allowed to come before the king without being summoned. To do so could result in a swift and merciless execution, even for the queen!

But Esther risked death and won her husband’s favor, saving the lives of an entire people. What a lot of people forget about the story is that it almost didn’t happen. In the book of Esther, chapter 4, her cousin Mordecai catches wind of the plot to kill the Israelites. He beseeches her to go before the king and beg for the lives of the people, but she responds that if she went before the king without being summoned, she could be executed. Let’s be fair, Mordecai was asking a lot. Esther would risk her life with no guarantee of success; it seemed impossible!

Few of us will ever face that kind of decision, but it’s important to remember that the greatest expressions of God’s will also apply to the smallest acts of love. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends,” (ESV). Jesus said this not just so we would be willing to risk our lives in extreme circumstances, but that we would be willing to lay our lives down in the little things as well. When opportunities present themselves, we tend to count the cost, but we don’t always see the potential good.

Is there someone you have the ability to help, but you’re not sure you want the financial commitment? Have you felt the need to apologize, but every time you get the chance you find an excuse not to? Is there a loved one whom you’ve given up on because they’re just so difficult? Consider taking a walk in their shoes. Remember a time when you needed grace?

Esther had a decision to make, and couldn’t see beyond the danger. After a pretty tough pep-talk from Mordecai, Esther finally decides to do the right thing, boldly stating, “And if I perish, I perish,” (v. 16). This year, I am praying that we would adopt the attitude of Esther—forget the cost, I need to do this because it’s right! I need to remember that the world is full of people who need what I can give. I need to overcome myself so I can touch the life of someone else.

Our Prayer:

Lord, when it comes time to fearless love others, help us overcome ourselves. Let us remember the example of Esther and her attitude that if I perish in the service of Your calling and purpose, then I perish boldly. Empower us to not be overcome by the cost at the expense of the divine potential you’ve provided. Help us overcome ourselves in the pursuit of living a fearless life. In Jesus name we prayer, amen.