In trying to sell our house by owner (not using a real-estate agent), my husband made sure to ask each of our neighbors for permission to place a directional sign at an intersection near our home. One particular homeowner seemed surprised that Scott had bothered to ask. As he gave his assent, he admitted that his usual response was to pull up any signs left by others who had not asked his permission. So we weren’t surprised, when driving by his house a few weeks later, that our sign remained in its place while another real estate sign had been removed and tossed to the side. The lesson for us was clear: A little respect goes a long way.

Being a Christian isn’t about a set of philosophical ideas. We’re called to embody an entirely different culture from the secular society around us—not just in the vices we avoid but also in the atmosphere of honor we create wherever we go (Colossians 3:12-14).

Following a Savior who became “nothing” for our sake (Philippians 2:7-8 NIV), we unlock the secret of the changed life when we understand that our entire worth is wrapped up in Him (Colossians 2:6-7). It takes little effort to do what simply benefits us, but the kingdom of heaven calls us to something far different. Implicit in the sacrifice of Jesus was His decision to place our needs above His own well-being (Isaiah 53:6-10).

Accessing these principles, however, isn’t some hidden mystery. Jesus made it simple when He explained that as we love God with our entire being, the next obvious fulfillment of His Word is to love others as we want to be loved (Luke 10:27). In this way, our lives become a reversal from protecting our own interests to respecting the concerns of others.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Deuteronomy 34:1-12