Prosocial behavior

Prosocial behavior

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. – Luke 6:35

Philippians 2:3-4

 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

On January 31, 2020, The Week magazine published an article titled, “The parrots to look out for their pals.”

Researchers in Germany have observed parrots carrying out seemingly “selfless” acts of kindness – behavior that has previously only been seen in humans and a few other primates. Désirée Brucks, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, trained several African grey parrots to pass her small metal tokens when she held out her hand, in exchange for a walnut treat.

She then placed two of the birds in adjacent clear-walled compartments with a small opening between them; one compartment also had a hole at the front. Brucks gave the tokens to one parrot, but only the other bird could reach her hand. Immediately, the parrot with the tokens started passing them through the opening to its neighbor, who could then exchange them for food. The first parrot carried on helping its feathered friend even though it received nothing in return.

This “prosocial” behavior isn’t apparent in all birds; when the experiment was repeated with blue-headed macaws, the birds only acted selfishly.

It is natural for fallen people to look after their own interests first. As part of our fallen DNA, we tend to look out for “numero uno.” At the same time, fallen man can be generous. The standard that the Father has set for believers is far higher. We are to be like our Father. He is kind to those who are ungrateful, malicious and wicked.

Luke 6:31-35

 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

 32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!

 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much!

 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

 35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.

Many of us perform acts of kindness often. Acts of kindness in of themselves are excellent things to do. But what is our motivation? Do we do it to impress others? Do we do it to feel good about ourselves? Are we trying to make up for past wrongs?


It is natural to put own interests first. It is supernatural to put the interests of others first.

Father what a high and lofty standard you have set. Only through your supernatural enablement will I ever begin to even try live up to it. Encourage me, empower me to do just.


Doing good and helping others, is always a good thing to do. But having the right motivation for your actions is more important than the actions themselves. We are to be motivated by the same love and concern that the Father has for us. We are commanded to have the same prosocial attitude that Christ Jesus had (Philippians 2:5).

Philippians 2:3-4

 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

We are to be humble. “The humble person is not one who thinks mainly of himself; he simply does not think of himself at all” (Andrew Murray). We are to know ourselves as we are according to the grace that the Father has bestowed upon us. We should not think ourselves either better or worse than we really are. “The truly humble person knows himself and accepts himself (Romans 12:3). He yields himself to Christ to be a servant, to use what he is and has for the glory of God and the good of others” (Wiersbe).

Putting our own interests first is natural and normal. Having the same regard for the welfare of others is rare and extraordinary. We are to be genuinely concerned about the well-being of others, “The key is to take that same level of concern and apply it also to the interests of others. Such radical love is rare” (ESV notes). This is the standard that the Father has set for all of His children, pure, unadulterated agape love.

Agape love “is that unconquered goodwill which never knows bitterness and never seeks anything but the good of others. It is not a mere reaction of the heart, as human love is; it is a victory of the will, achieved by the help of Jesus Christ. It does not mean loving only those who love us, or those whom we like, or those who are lovable. It means an unconquerable goodwill even to those who hate us, to those whom we do not like, to those who are unlovely” (Barclay).

But there is more. Generous, unselfish giving always provides a generous return.

Luke 6:38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”


Spiritual germination

Spiritual germination

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels – a plentiful harvest of new lives. – John 12:24

John 12:24-26

 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels – a plentiful harvest of new lives.

 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.

 26 Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

Germination is an amazing paradox that is not yet fully comprehended by modern science. Plant seeds are like miniature survival packages. Each one contains enough food, nutrients, and instructions to burst into life and begin growing roots and a small plant. It then will break through the soil and sprout. This entire process is referred to as germination. To continue growth, it requires light, water, and nutrients found in growing location.

Before the seed is planted it is dormant, and for all appearances seemingly dead. By itself, the seed serves no function and it is practically speaking, useless. When it is planted everything changes. It truly dies and then becomes truly alive.

Spiritual germination is also a miracle. It is likewise an amazing paradox. Spiritual life and growth only comes by death. In order to bring redemption to the world, the Lord Jesus Christ had to die. But his death was not the end of the story. By the mighty power of the Father, Jesus was raised from the dead to live again. He offers salvation and eternal life to anyone who will take it. Life comes from death.

“Jesus used the image of a seed to illustrate the great spiritual truth that there can be no glory without suffering, no fruitful life without death, no victory without surrender” (Wiersbe). All of the Father’s children are His seeds. Each of us come with life within, the Father’s eternal life, and an instruction manual of sorts. New pages are added continually to the manual as we walk with Him.


It is only when we die to our personal ambitions and goals, that we truly began to live for the Father.

Father how I long to fulfill Your dreams for my life. Encourage me to continually surrender my personal ambitions and goals in exchange for yours.


As children of the King, to truly live and fulfill His dreams and ambitions for our lives we have to make an exchange. Dying to self is difficult and each of us struggle with it. This personal challenge is presented to each of the Father’s children.

“If a seed could talk, it would no doubt complain about being put into the cold, dark earth. But the only way it can achieve its goal is by being planted” (Wiersbe).

We have the option of choosing to remain alone, isolated, seemingly protected, and comfortable. But as such we are not producing the spiritual life that the Father intended for us. It is a decision that we have to choose for ourselves. Once we make the choice to die to ourselves, we must continue making it throughout our lives.

John 12:25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.

We are the Father’s seeds; He is the one who does the planting. Consider a story involving a very remote mission station. A group of outsiders went to visit to speak with the missionaries there. The conversation went like this:

“You certainly have buried yourself out here!” one of the visitors exclaimed.

“We haven’t buried ourselves,” the missionary replied. “We were planted!” (Wiersbe)

But there’s more. It is only when we make the choice to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, that we become servants of the Father and disciples.

John 12:26 Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

While the statement “I serve at the pleasure of the President” has been used since the 1700s. The phrase “I serve at the pleasure of” was commonly used by people who served kings and other royal leaders. To serve the King was a great privilege.

How great is it to be a servant of the King of Kings?

How do we achieve the most in this life? The Lord Jesus Christ teaches very clearly that it is done by living sacrificially and dying to ourselves, rather than living for ourselves. Putting it either terms, a self-centered life is a life wasted. Whatever we gain is temporal and fleeting. But if we live a Father-centered life, we gain eternal value and worth. The Father will honor anyone who serves me (John 12:26). “People whose priorities are right have such an attitude of love for the things of God that all interest in the affairs of this life appear by comparison as hatred” (Constable).

Toxic Masculinity

Toxic Masculinity

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. – Ephesians 5:25

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.

1 Peter 3:7 In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

The Babylon Bee – a Christian satire website asks:

Are you Suffering from Toxic Masculinity?

More than 40% of men today suffer from it – and their loved ones pay the price.

Toxic masculinity is the latest disease to plague the nation. More than 40% of men today suffer from its detrimental effects. Toxic masculinity is social science term which identifies traditional, cultural norms for manliness such as self-reliance, stoicism, strength, virility, and dominance. Puzzlingly absent from the symptoms are courtesy, kindness, servant leadership, loyalty, self-sacrifice, love for country and family, and commitment to defend and protect those loved and cared for. It is incumbent upon every male to know the warning signs of this virulent disease plaguing the nation.

What are some of the early warning signs of toxic masculinity?

– A belief that men and women are at least a little bit different. If you’re a woman who believes this, then you suffer from an even worse disease called internalized misogyny.

– Eating meat on occasion.

– Holding the door open for a woman once in a while.

– Yelling stuff about freedom and charging into battle wearing blue face paint.

– Being a man who doesn’t hate himself. This is the most telling sign.

Of course this is nothing new. This social malady first began with of the Father’s instructions to Adam and Eve in the garden. The idea caught on and was expanded through New Testament teachings. The New Testament standards set the bar much higher. Men were required to treat women with respect as equal partners. In particular, husbands were exhorted to love their wives, be faithful to them, and be willing to die for them.

Is this toxic or admirable? Well, according to the viewpoint of fallen people in a fallen world it is a very toxic. But then they have no respect or regard for the Lord God omnipotent who reigns from heaven. He is the one who set the standard. It goes without question that if you don’t respect or admire the Father that feel only disdain for Him, you will reject His thoughts and absolutes.


At the center of our values is our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. As our relationship with Him becomes more and more a part of who we are, what we do will become closer to the standards that He has set for us.

Father thank You that You have set forth righteous standards for how we are to live. Thank You for forgiving us when we fail. Encourage and strengthen us to strive to do what is right.


Much of the criticism of biblical masculinity focuses on modern times and unfair practices that are everyday occurrences. But the ancient world was an entirely different situation.

The ancient world in many ways was cruel, brutish, and ugly. Societies were male dominated. Men had the rights and authority; women had the responsibilities and obligations. There was no balance when it came to authority and relationships.

The Lord Jesus Christ and the New Testament writers started a cultural and social revolution. They introduced values and standards of mutual obligation. Duties and responsibilities existed for both males and females.

“The Christian ethic is one of mutual obligation, in which the rights and the obligations rest with every individual. It is an ethic of mutual responsibility; and, therefore, it becomes an ethic where the thought of privilege and rights falls into the background and where the thought of duty and obligation takes priority. The whole direction of the Christian ethic is not to ask: ‘What do others owe to me?’ but ‘What do I owe to others?’ (Barclay)”

Rather than toxic masculinity, according to the Father the symptoms, stipulated above, are indicators of godly masculinity. It is indeed contagious and seems to spread wherever the truth word of God is taught, comprehended, and put into practice. Wherever New Testament truth has spread, husbands attempt to understand their wives and treat them with kindness and love. Women are no longer considered property, slaves, or objects.

Men attempting to follow biblical principles are still fallen men living in a fallen world. Sadly, injustice, cruelty, oppression, and degradation remain. The bar set for godly masculinity is high. Sadly, too few men achieve the standards required. “One of the unfortunate truths about Christianity . . . [is that] over the centuries, many Christ-followers have fallen far short of the standard Jesus set in showing the worth and dignity of women (Dorothy Sayers). But the standard still exists. A good number of men are working really hard to measure up.

A short summary of the Father’s instructions for husbands is: Husbands, love your wives, never treat them harshly, honor them. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

There is only one cure for godly masculinity and that is not to strive for it.

The Christmas Truce

The Christmas Truce

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. – Luke 2:14

Luke 2:10-11

 10 “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.”

 11 “The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”

On June 28, 1914, World War I began. The Western Front, consisted of trenches that stretched 450 miles from the English Channel to the Swiss Alps. Between the warring trenches was no man’s land. Vast numbers of soldiers fell and remained where they were shot between the trenches.

The sounds and stench of war permeated the air. As Christmas approached in December of 1914, the guns and cannons fell silent. On Christmas Eve, suddenly, unexpectedly, almost magically lit candles were placed atop the German trenches. They were soon joined by men holding tiny Christmas trees with lit candles.

A new sound lofted through the air. It was not the sound of war. It was the sound of singing. The melody was very familiar, but the words were being sung in German. Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht drifted out over the killing zone. The English recognized melody and answered back in song, Silent Night, Holy Night.

Suddenly, unarmed German soldiers came out of their trenches and walked guardedly towards the British lines. Almost simultaneously, the British soldiers did likewise. “Merry Christmas” punctuated the cold dark night, followed by the words, “We won’t shoot if you don’t.” Cautiously, troops from both sides made their way forward and began to shake hands and exchange greetings. The soldiers traded plum puddings for cigars, swapped stories and souvenirs, reminisced about home, buried their dead and even played a bit of soccer.

On this amazing night, this magical night, their shared faith in the Lord Jesus Christ brought Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men for a few hours. This became known as the Christmas Truce of 1914.

After Christmas, the war began anew. Friends were once again enemies.

The Father seeks a permanent and eternal truce for all. It is His desire that all animosity and warfare cease. But only His children have laid down their arms.


The Lord Jesus Christ came to establish permanent peace between people and within people. He offered peace, a special peace, personal peace with God. The peace of God, His quiet, calm, restful, tranquil character is now accessible for each person who would become His child.

Father thank You for making peace possible. Thank You that for inviting me to lay down my arms and be at peace with You.


A magnificent promise was made by the prophet Isaiah that one day a powerful monarch would enter the realm of mankind and reign in peace rather than in authoritarian domination.

Isaiah 9:6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The promised Messiah, the Son of God, would come as a child born to the Nation of Israel. He would come as the embodiment of peace itself. He would rule as the Prince of Peace.

His kingdom would be unique, a kingdom of peace. This coming ruler would establish peace and reign in peace. He would usher in a time of peace on earth and goodwill to men. He would provide peace between individuals and nations. He would provide personal peace within the heart of each of His subjects. He would make it possible for peace to exist between the Father and mankind.

His reign would be marked not by intimidation and force, but rather gentle persuasion. He would rule over people “by sweetly and powerfully influencing their hearts by his grace: not governing them against their wills, but powerfully inclining their wills” (Ortlund and Hughes).

The promised Messiah of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ did far more than declare a truce between the Father and the human race. He procured and made possible the establishment of permanent peace and reconciliation.

Most of us, when we search deep within our hearts, will stumble across anger, hostility, resentment, belligerence and warfare lurking there. Why? Because, before we become His children, we are His enemies. A state of war exists between us and God. When we are adopted into the Father’s forever family, all warfare and enmity vanish. A state of permanent peace is established. This is true for each of the Father’s children.

But this is not merely a confident hope for the future. We do not have to wait until we enter into His presence.

When our adoption was finalized, we are no longer merely called the children of God, we are the children of God. Peace with God and the peace of God become our present possession. They are His Christmas gifts to us. We can now experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand (Philippians 4:7).

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