This article is the first in a seven series discussion on the attributes of a Chaldean apostle. A Chaldean apostle is a vigilant and faithful servant willing to accept in their mind and heart that Jesus is their God and savior. By having such faith the Chaldean apostle’s behavior will naturally change and begin to better reflect the Kingdom of God. Therefore, this series will examine the attributes of behavior that demonstrate the grace of our Lord and our choice to be a follower of Christ.
True Chaldeans understand that God is the only person who can bring people to salvation. Christians who believe this should result in an almost automatic humbling of any person. There are those with egos who claim to be servants of God, but their behavior shows something entirely different.
Part of the reason for this is the competitive spirit with which we have been brought up, always instructed to seek the first place so that we can gain glory for ourselves and those near us. While this is understandable to a certain extent in the world we dwell in, the rules are totally different in God's world.
The Holy Bible illustrates this beautifully in Mark 10: 35-45. Jesus had just told his apostles that he was going to die, but rather than be concerned about His fate, two apostles were more concerned about their own.
James and John, the sons of Zebedee - went to Jesus with the request that when He returned to heaven, they were to be seated on either side of Him. Bemused, Jesus told them that they didn't know what they were asking! "Are you able to drink the cup that I drink?" He asked. The cup he was referring to was not, of course, the cup of wine, but the cup of suffering.
The price of suffering is made clear in yet another verse of Scripture. "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." (Romans 8:16-17)
When the other apostles found out what James and John had done they were furious, because they wanted the seats of honor for themselves. Jesus called them all to Him and gently rebuked them saying that the world sought greatness by lording it over one another. “But it is not so among you,“ He said. "Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:43-45)
Once we come to this understanding of "servant leadership" and the attribute of humility that it requires, we quit trying to build our own little fiefdoms and set out to build God's Kingdom. We stop trying to store up riches on earth, like fancy cars, expensive clothing, jewelry, and unnecessarily big homes. These are all purchased to fill a void of insecurity and lack of self-esteem. Even more dangerous is that when we do fall to the temptation arrogance we spiral into a pit of endless vulnerability and dependency on the whims of others. A dependency that forces us to foolishly endure an endless chase of what we believe will bring us happiness.
When we begin cooperating with and serving others whose goals are the same as ours we move in the opposite direction. As this is, quite obviously, in God's own interest, He blesses all the work that we do - whether individually or collectively. Happiness is abundant.
Providentially John and James did not remain arrogant. Both the apostles were willing to pray the price, and they did. James was the first of the apostles martyred for Christ. He was beheaded at Jerusalem. There is an interesting story told of the Roman officer who guarded St. James. He had watched as James defended his faith at his trial. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to get his head chopped off too.
John was the only apostle who was not martyred, though legend has it that he faced painful death when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. Miraculously delivered from death, John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos where he wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation.
The behaviors of those who relish in the arrogance of serving themselves instead of God are depressed and use outwardly goods to mask their sadness. Sadly, many of them are the best of actors and consciously or subconsciously lead others down a dooming and destructive road.
To help change such a sorrowful path of arrogance we must support those who behave to bring about the kingdom. It is then that God’s will is done.
Frank Dado is a student of Theology at the University of San Diego. He enjoys the science of psychology and philosophy along with sports and writing. He has written many reviews and essays on the philosophy of everyday living and the science of behavior.