In this week’s blog post, we are considering the habit or discipline of serving. In past posts, we have considered Bible intake, prayer, worship, and evangelism.
If you have not seen these posts yet, go ahead and click on the following links to catch up:
And remember that the primary motivation for these spiritual habits or disciplines is taken from Paul’s instruction to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:7, where he says, exercise or discipline yourself toward godliness. This applies to us just the same today and makes it clear that, if we wish to be godly, it will take work, discipline, and exercise. Just as an athlete, musician, or artist must exercise disciplined practice to become more proficient at their chosen field, so a disciple must exercise disciplined practice in these activities as means’ of grace to become more proficient at being godly. That is to say, as we become more disciplined in the practice of these habits, more of God’s grace is available to us which will change us.
And one very powerful way to become more proficient in godliness is through serving God and others. The act of serving can be as public as preaching or teaching, but more often than not it will appear as hidden as nursery duty or cleaning the kitchen after an event.
Serving usually looks as unspectacular as the practical needs it works to meet.
And that’s why serving must become a Habit of Grace. The flesh schemes against its hiddenness and sameness. Two of the deadliest sins – sloth and pride – hate serving. So, if we don’t discipline ourselves to serve for the sake of Jesus and His kingdom and for the purpose of godliness, we will serve only occasionally or when its convenient or self-serving.
However, not every act of service should be disciplined serving. Much of our service should flow naturally from our love for God and love for others. Like our worship and evangelism, our service should also often just flow from inside of us as a result of the life-transforming presence and work of the Holy Spirit.
But because the Spirit of Jesus within us causes us to yearn to be more like Jesus, and because of the persistent sinful tendencies toward selfishness in our hearts, we must also discipline ourselves to serve. Those who do will find serving one of the most certain and practical means of growth in grace.
Every Christian is Expected to Serve
When we are called to God, none of us is called to idleness. When we are born again and our sins are forgiven, the blood of Jesus cleanses our conscience according to Hebrews 9:14 in order for us to “serve the living God.” Every believer’s Bible tells him or her to “serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2, NASB). There is no place for spiritual unemployment or spiritual retirement. And the believer should find ample motivation because God mentions at least six in the Bible.
Every Christian is Gifted to Serve
In 1 Corinthians 12:4 and 11 we read about the different varieties of spiritual gifts given to believers and that the Holy Spirit determines by His sovereign will which gift goes to which believer. “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit…All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as He wills.” And Peter makes it clear in 1 Peter 4:10, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.”
So every Christian has received at least one gift and that gift is given for service.
Let’s diligently practice the discipline of service. And your service is no doubt needed more now during this time of pandemic.
Are there particularly vulnerable people within your network who need your service? Are there those who might be susceptible to depression?
Who could you call and encourage?
So let’s be about the business of serving.