The cross is our model for service. We are called to show the same self-denial, self-control and self-sacrifice – putting others first.
Our culture sees these as dangerously repressive and instead makes virtues out of self-fulfilment, self-realisation and self-indulgence. ‘You’re worth it,’ we’re told. This attitude can creep into the church. Take, for example, our view of spiritual gifts. We often assume we need to work out what our gifts are so we can discover a fulfilling ministry. The Bible never tells us to do this. The point of every passage on spiritual gifts is to encourage Christians to celebrate the diversity in the church (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; 1 Peter 4). The Spirit gives gifts to the community for the good of the community – not for personal fulfilment (1 Corinthians 12:7). Individual Christians are told humbly to serve other people and humbly to value the contributions of others.