Mark 9

January Memory Verse: Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Mark 8:34 (NIV)

Today's chapter is full of amazing accounts and stories of the greatness of Jesus. Each one could make up its own post, but for the sake of focus, I want to highlight one verse today, Mark 9:35—"He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

This verse convicts us, especially in the midst of such a divisively charged atmosphere right now. What if our society was marked more by a servant's heart than self-concern? Jesus is saying this in light of the self-concern of the disciples, specifically in this context of gunning for a higher position within God's Kingdom.

The irony for them (and for us) is that God does not look on the outward appearance of power, he looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). I'm sure this is true for you, whether you are in a career, a student, comparing yourself to others, you name it. It's even prevalent in church leadership too! We have to fight to remember that if we pray for revival to come to our city, that we should be just as happy if God blesses the church down the road as we would be if he blesses our church.

The reason for this is that because of the gospel, we have been freed from the need to exalt ourselves; we are now free to solely exalt God. When God is in the rightful place in our hearts, we naturally put others before ourselves.

In the comments, how do you practically fight to exalt God and not self? How do you seek to serve others more than yourself?

By: Graham Withers


Ronnie Chaffins - January 14th, 2021 at 4:42am

As Jesus said to us in Matthew 22:37-40 when He was ask what the greatest commandment was but added a second; "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Loving ourselves above all others to me is the basic catalysts for the sin of pride. To be a servants of Christ we have to allow the Spirit of God to conquered this in our lives every day. In our old self we we were probably number 1 but as followers of the suffering servant we must lose this desire and take on the stewardship of a serving attitude first.

Graham Withers - January 14th, 2021 at 2:38pm

Good thoughts Ron!

Korbet Finley - January 14th, 2021 at 5:54am

Our eyes and ears are the gates by which we receive God's Word -- which we need -- to help us understand that the concepts of worldly greatness and leadership need to be reversed. Humble servant leadership is our calling, and it starts at verse 36, the humility that is like a trusting child.

Graham Withers - January 14th, 2021 at 2:38pm

That's right Korbet! God's Kingdom is counter to the world's.

Jordan Hampton - January 14th, 2021 at 6:05am

The main weapon I've found for pride is to spend quality time with God daily. As I read Scripture, I get a bigger and clearer picture of who Jesus is. Since the goal is conformity to His image, I see the perfect standard that I can't meet. That drives me to prayer, as I confess my sin of pride, ask God to help me consider other more significant than myself (Phil. 2:3-5) and reminded me the reality of self-exaltation (Matt. 23:12). This loop drives me continually towards dependence, as I realize more how the Christian life is impossible without God's grace and intervention and takes the weight of performance and replaces it with joy.

Nick Parsons - January 14th, 2021 at 6:11am


Nick Parsons - January 14th, 2021 at 6:12am

Good word Graham. Tough to remember in our world.

Also, that was supposed to be praise hands emoji above @jordanhampton haha

Graham Withers - January 14th, 2021 at 2:39pm

Thanks bro!

Graham Withers - January 14th, 2021 at 2:39pm

Exactly right Jordan!

Tim Parsons - January 14th, 2021 at 6:10am

Thanks for your post Graham. Grateful for you.

Graham Withers - January 14th, 2021 at 2:39pm

Thanks Tim!

Kaitlin White - January 14th, 2021 at 6:48am

The Lord has been teaching me this! Am I working for His glory, or mine? Is what I do because I truly love the Lord more than anything and want to serve Him by serving others?

Thanks for this reminder, Graham!

Graham Withers - January 14th, 2021 at 2:41pm

So important to check motives, even in ministry!

Tabor Rulon - January 14th, 2021 at 10:17am

That’s something I have been struggling with recently is being able to freely give myself to the Lord for His guidance and knowing everything comes from Him and Him only. Sometimes I tend to praise myself for decisions I make but have found myself asking the Lord to humble me, as I can’t make make those choices alone. Something God has taught me is to practice abidance in Him and it has brought me so much more peace!

Graham Withers - January 14th, 2021 at 2:42pm

Continue seeking the Lord to teach you humility Tabor!

Scottie Frans - January 14th, 2021 at 2:30pm

Great reminder, Graham! I often have to remind myself that I shouldn't let any position that I may hold go to my head, but that I only have that position because God saw fit to put me there. Being a leader means you need to serve those you are responsible for, as Jesus did. I am not the perfect servant leader, but it's what I strive to be. Thankful for scripture pointing us to Jesus and the example that he set for us!

Graham Withers - January 14th, 2021 at 2:42pm

Good perspective Scottie!

Emily Carter - January 14th, 2021 at 6:59pm

Great reminder today, Graham! I have learned that I often need to check my heart: Am I doing this act of service for someone to receive something back in return (I.e. praise or affirmation) or purely because I love that person and want to show and exalt Christ?

Reva Lavender - January 14th, 2021 at 8:13pm

Great reminder for me! Teaching my kids in my class how to serve others-but I know that example needs to start with me! Thanks Graham!

Rasheed Flowers - January 15th, 2021 at 9:39pm

That is really good! We Can exalt God by remembering everything is His in the first place. All good and perfect gifts come from above; it is by His grace we receive anything!

TK hellard - January 15th, 2021 at 9:59pm

Doing this Bible study exalts God over self and remembering other people by the power of God in our lives

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