Consider the following quotes on focused (or unfocused) Christian service. How often do we swap service to the Savior for th Savior Himself?
“To concentrate on service and activity for God may often actively thwart our attaining of the true goal, God Himself. At first sight it seems heroic to fling our lives away in the service of God and of our fellows. We feel it is bound to mean more to Him than our experience of Him. Service seems so unselfish, whereas concentrating on our walk with God seems selfish and self-centered. But it is the very reverse. The things that God is most concerned about are our coldness of heart towards Himself and our proud, unbroken natures. Christian service of itself can, and so often does, leave our self-centered nature untouched… With those things hidden in our hearts, we have only to work alongside others, and find resentment, hardness, criticism, jealousy, and frustration issuing from our hearts. We think we are working for God, but the test of how little of our service for Him is revealed by our resentment or self-pity… We need to leave our lusting for ever-larger spheres of Christian service and concentrate on seeing God for ourselves and finding the deep answer for life in Him.” *
*We Would See Jesus, Christian Literature Crusade, 1961, p. 15.
I used to ask God to help me. Then I asked if I might help Him. I ended up by asking Him to do His work through me.
Trying to work for God without worshipping God results in joyless legalism. Work minus worship magnifies your will power not God’s worth. If you try to do things for God without delighting in God you bring dishonor upon God. Serving God without savoring God is lifeless and unreal.
Worship empowers serving; serving expresses worship. Godliness requires a disciplined balance between the two. Those who can maintain service without regular personal and corporate worship are serving in the flesh. It doesn’t matter how long they’ve been serving that way or how well others think they serve, they are not striving according toGod’s power, as Paul did, but their own… At the same time, one measure of the authenticity of worship (again, both personal and corporate) is whether it results in a desire to serve… Therefore, we must maintain that to be Godly, we should discipline ourselves for both worship and service. To engage in one without the other is, in reality, to experience neither.
So many of us think about it the other way around. We think of church in terms of our serving God and receiving from others. But this is backwards. Sacrificial service in the church doesn’t start with serving. It starts with being served by God. Then as we are satisfied in Him and who He’s revealed Himself to be in His crucified Son, we gladly overflow in service of others.
If God is my portion, if God is the true source of my joy, and if it is God who will fulfill me, then I am free to be a companion instead of a consumer. That is, because of what I receive from God I can give to another person instead of always taking; I can minister rather than manipulate because of the fulfillment I get from God.
Richard D. Phillips and Sharon L. Phillips
Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.
Corrie ten Boom
It is possible to be so active in the service of Christ as to forget to love Him.
True saints do what they do because they are drawn by love. True Christians find that the love of God in Christ is so attractive, so beautiful, that they cannot help wanting to serve Him. There is a splendor, a beauty, about God and His ways that lures humans beings to Him.
Don’t ever forget that you cannot do what God has called you to do. You cannot parent that child, love that husband, care for that elderly parent, submit to that boss, teach that Sunday school class, or lead that small-group Bible study. God specializes in the impossible, so that when the victory is won and the task is complete, we cannot take any credit. Others know we didn’t do it, and we know we didn’t do it. We must always remember that we can only live the Christian life and serve God through the power of His Holy Spirit. As soon as we think we can handle it on our own, we become useless to Him. We have to be willing to get out of the way, let God take over, and let Him overshadow us.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Till men have faith in Christ, their best services are but glorious sins.
We’re here to be worshippers first and workers only second. We take a convert and immediately make a worker out of him. God never meant it to be so. God meant that a convert should learn to be a worshiper, and after that he can learn to be a worker… The work done by a worshiper will have eternity in it.
If we give God service it must be because He gives us grace. We work for Him because He works in us.
This does not mean that I cannot desire to be blessed by my service to God. In fact, God promises to bless our obedience according to His loving purposes, and in some measure He uses these blessings to encourage us to honor His standards. The point is not that His blessings should never motivate us at all, but they cannot be the driving force of our service. His blessings are the oil that helps the machinery of obedience operate, but love for God and desire for His glory are the pistons and wheels.