How do I serve the Lord as He served me?
The opportunity to serve God is a wonderful honor and privilege for every follower of Jesus. The Apostle Paul set the example for us when he thanked Jesus for the honor of serving Him.
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service . . . (NASB) 1 Tim. 1:12
Service to God is an honor for Christians and not a right.
What Does God Want?
It may surprise some Christians that God is not interested in our attendance at church, our Bible reading, our money, our service, or many other “church things” that we think are important. God asks these things of us, but what He wants most is our hearts. He wants our love. He wants a close relationship with us more than anything else. Listen to God in the following verse.
“Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD. (NASB) Jer. 9:23-24
God wants you to know Him as a close personal friend. Did you notice the phrase, “I delight in these things”? God delights in a Christian’s passion to know Him. That is the message in “God’s Great Passion.” I would encourage you to read it. You will see God’s Great desire for you. Service comes next.
It is easy to let service take the place of God in one’s life. It is amazing how many critical, bitter, complaining, unloving, self-serving Christians enjoy “serving the Lord.” Or, at least they appear to be eager to do “service” around the church, in the community, and even at state and federal levels. Such Christians are not truly serving God. Somewhere along their Christian journey they took their eyes off Jesus and started staring at service, and service is what they live for. Now, Jesus is not as important to them as their service. Some Christians live for service and not God. If they had to give up service in order to have more time reading their Bibles, they would be very unhappy Christians. The joy of seeking to know and love God is no longer as important. I have found that it is easy to enjoy serving service and to miss out on Jesus.
How To Serve Him?
True service comes from the overflow of a deep and personal relationship with Jesus. Malachi 1 describes some priests who started performing their service to God with a sense of duty and obligation. God was upset with them. Why did this happen? Malachi 1 reveals that these priests had lost their love for God. They no longer longed for Him. The joy of their relationship with God was cold or maybe lukewarm at best. Their service was now a duty for men or themselves. It was not for God.
With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men . . . (NASB) Eph. 6:7
God wants our service to flow from a love relationship. That was the message Jesus sent the Apostle Peter in John 21:15-17. Love must come before service.
Then God will call you into service. The Holy Spirit will put a passion into your heart. He will place a desire within you to use your spiritual gift in some area of ministry. You should follow that desire and start ministering to others.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. (NASB) Rom. 12:1
Your attitude should be that of serving God and not the people to whom you minister. You should do it with all your heart. Jesus presented Himself as a living sacrifice in order to forgive our sins. Romans 12:1-2 calls us to sacrifice ourselves for Him too!
After Jesus had finished asking Peter three times, “Do you love Me?” Peter finally cried because Jesus had questioned his love. Most Christians remember that part, but we miss Jesus’ next statement,
Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!” (NASB) John 21:18-19
Jesus told Peter that he would die because he loved God. Jesus called Him to love Him and then to die for Him. Service is loving Jesus to the point of death.