* Being enslaved to be free: Acknowledge that everyone is a slave to something – those who aren’t connected to Jesus are slaves to sin, and those who are in a relationship with Him are slaves to Him. But being a slave to Jesus is far different from any other kind of slavery, because it’s not based on force, but on love, and it doesn’t damage you, but heals you. Out of love for Jesus – the source of love itself – you serve Him willingly and joyfully. And as you do, He gives you freedom from the sin that previously enslaved you, and the freedom to live life in new, healthier ways. Accept the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers you, but realize that He paid the ultimate cost to buy it for you, so don’t take it for granted. Remember that true freedom doesn’t come just from exercising your own will, but from following your calling and fulfilling your purpose in life as Jesus – a loving Master – leads you. Shackle yourself to Jesus to find the forgiveness, guidance, and grace you need.

 

* Finding fool’s wisdom: Realize how easy it is to search for wisdom in the wrong places in our fallen world. Know that, often, people pride themselves on their own limited intelligence, yet completely miss out on God’s unlimited wisdom because of that pride. Understand the folly of simply acquiring knowledge without seeking God’s guidance about how to apply that knowledge. Remember that God is the source of all wisdom. Be humble and constantly willing to learn. Expect to encounter wisdom in unexpected places, since God is much too big to be contained within the limits of human minds. Let go of attempts to impress God and other people with your own cleverness, and don’t be afraid to look like a fool by admitting all you don’t know. Ask God to guide you so you can find true wisdom.

 

* Yielding to conquer: Understand that heeding Jesus’ call to love and pray for your enemies is a sign of strength rather than weakness. Realize that revenge may temporarily make you feel better, but the victory will be hollow because it will come at the cost of sacrificing your integrity. Trust God to deal with people who have hurt you better than you ever could on your own. Know that God has your best interests at heart and has the power to turn even the worst situations around to accomplish good purposes. Admit your weaknesses and let them show you your need for God. Accept the strength God offers you when you place your trust in Him. Let go of your own agenda and submit to God’s plans for you so you can live victoriously. Rely on God’s power to overcome whatever obstacles you encounter.

 

* Serving to reign: Know that the way to ascend to true leadership is by descending into service. Acknowledge the futility of reaching for greatness through selfish ambition, status, wealth, fame, triumph, or personal power. Decide to follow Jesus’ own example of servant leadership by selflessly, boldly, and passionately serving others as God leads you. Acknowledge that it’s God’s power – not your own – that can make you a great person. Understand that you can’t earn God’s love and you don’t have to prove anything to other people. Ask God to give you the humility you need to take your focus off yourself and onto Him and the people with whom He wants you to share His love.