Friday, February 20, 2015

Becoming Like God...In His Name (3 of 3)

In the previous post, it was explained that Christians are expected to serve and gifted to serve. This week's concluding post, I will provide a few options for learning and preparing to serve. But first, let me provide a reminder of what service is not.

Service does not bring about salvation. 1 Corinthians 15.3-4 reveal that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was raised again – according to the Scriptures. These two verses are the gospel in a nutshell. And our sins are mentioned, but the only name is, and the only service done (death in this case) is done by, Jesus. It was Jesus who died. Jesus who was buried, and Jesus who was raised. Our names are not mentioned in the gospel.

Why is this important? Well, in a post (or series of posts) about service, some may interpret that serving is a way of salvation. But it isn't. Serving the Lord is important. As mentioned above, God does expect it. He does gift us for service. But Ephesians 2.8-9 says, that grace and faith are not given on merit, in order that no one, no one that is, apart from Jesus, has any right to boast. Yet, we cannot look past verse 10 – which says we were created – your very birth was meant – for serving the Lord.

And worship is very related to service. Our worship should lead us to serve, and our service expresses our worship.

Whitney gives the following as a potential want ad for a Kingdom Servant:
Wanted: Gifted volunteers for difficult service in the local expression of the kingdom of God. Motivation to serve should be obedience to God, gratitude, gladness, forgiveness, humility and love. Service will rarely be glorious. Temptation to quit place of service will sometimes be strong. Volunteers must be faithful in spite of long hours, little or no visible results and possibly no recognition – except from God in all eternity.

This week's letter for the JOURNEY is N, for Nurture. I mentioned in a previous post that we don't remember a lot of the ways we are served unless one or two things are true – a sacrifice or problem. Think of a time when you were out to eat and received exceptional service from a waiter or waitress. Do you remember their name? What they were wearing? Specifically, what they did that was impressive? Even where you were? Now, think of a time when you were out to eat and received poor service. I bet you can remember a lot more details. I know I can.

So, if our letter is N, let's change that – especially in the church and for God's Kingdom. Let's nurture one another to grow in our various areas of service. And when someone fails, let's be the brother or sister that picks the other up – serving that person to help them recover, rather than making fun of them or chastising them – especially with others outside of the church!

So, related to service, what is our next step? Well, again, before I answer this, let me tweak our question for this series to make it about service:

If your growth in godliness were measured by the faithfulness of your service to God, what would be the result?

So what's the next step in Becoming Like God? Challenge yourself.

If we are to be a people Becoming Like God, then just as God has served us through the giving of His Son, we need to be giving of ourselves to others through service. So, specifically, what can you do as it relates to service? Well, we return to our 4L's – Learn, Live, Love, and Lead – to provide potential next steps for each of us. Again, consider where you are in your service RIGHT NOW. And let the Spirit lead you to what you might next do.

What is your Spiritual Gift? If you know it, how can it be used to serve Him and serve others?  If you don't know it, there are many tools online to help guide you.

Find a way to use your giftedness in the context of ministry. How can you serve others in the church? How can you serve others beyond the church? What needs exist in your community? Keep your eyes and ears open, someone is always in need.

As you begin serving, consider who you may truly be serving. (Matthew 25.40) So do it with the right fuel – love!

Share moments of service with others. Invite them with you. Teach them to serve. And remind them to serve.

*This series of posts is adapted from Donald Whitney's book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.

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