Go on in serving the Lord
Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva
(JTH, Vol.6 No.1, Jan.-Apr. 2001)
Serving God is an unending vocation to those who have truly given their lives over to Him. Those who have decided to surrender their entire existence to God normally desire to serve in His kingdom until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. But not everyone serves God finishes the given race. Many of them stumble along the way and haply returns to the lane of Christian service.
What could be the secrets to serve God steadily? There are certain principles that will guide us in establishing a lasting kind of service. Given here are six pointers that will help us become able and effective servants of God. Let me cite them by one and ponder how they shall take us to the finish line.
Work with God. Stop working for God. We as His servants should not struggle in Him. We should not be tempted to have Messianic spirit and insult the Owner of the Kingdom. What we ought to do is do our best and leave to Him what we cannot do.
God is not a Master who watches us from a distance but an active participant in the building of His kingdom. First Corinthians 3:9 says, “For we are God’s fellow workers…” Philippians 2”13 also says, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.”
There are times we become weary with delay in the delivery of God’s promises, which will help in the advancement of His kingdom on earth. But we must remember that He always has a million plus ways to deliver the things we have expected Him to deliver for the benefit of the ministry He has entrusted us. What is important is that we are living and serving Him within His will. And God, in His perfect time, will manifest to us the fulfillment of His promises for His glory.
Never Lose Guard. No one is immune from any temptation. Everyone, even those who look strong and mature can lose a single moment of test of character. Such was the test Gideon’s army undertook, from which only 300 passed, out of 32,000 (Judges 7). Gideon’s valiant three hundred men were not afraid to face the battle against the Midianites and did not drink like dogs when they were brought down to the river. Their courage and subtlety shines as they were tested, proving their preparedness for the battle.
We must always stay on guard since what will disqualify a Christian from service is the lack of discretion or discernment whenever temptation gets in the way. Saint Peter was right when he said, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
And when we say stay on guard, it means to watch our heart and its motives. It means not to allow the spirit of the envy, jealousy, division, strife, greed and the likes to enter into our hearts while serving God. All the more, we must heed His warning in Jeremiah 48:10a that says, “Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully.”
Follow “DOORMAT” Principle. If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35). God’s philosophy in His kingdom has always been focused on humility and servant hood. Not only did He speak about it, He demonstrated it. The Lord Jesus washed the disciples’ dirty feet in one celebration of the Passover Feast, few hours before they betrayed Him. It was so humbling to see the Lord serving His disciples when He in heaven commands hosts of angels.
And surely, nothing can equal His supreme servant hood shown through His death. As He affirmed, “…whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:27 – 28)
We must be willing to be the least of all servants of God. We should serve like doormats, not lording over God’s flock and our fellow believer (1 Peter 5:3). As St. Paul puts it, “…through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)
Remember the Judgment seat of Christ. The quality of our service to God will be revealed in the day of reckoning. Second Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
We should remember that the day will come when all of our works will be drawn to the fire of testing and their quality will be revealed. Whether they are made of gold and silver, or of wood and hay, symbolically saying that our works may have been done in honesty, sincerity and integrity, or done in deceit, that we will know on the judgment day (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). Talking to heart that certain day will come, we should be cautious and conscious enough of the manner we serve God.
Self-Denial. In order for God to live in us, we should be dead to ourselves. In order for us to obey His perfect will for our lives, we should make Jesus our Lord. There is a big difference in calling and making Him our Lord. The first may just be a lip service while the latter requires higher cost. We should learn to step down from the personal throne of our ambition and selfish desires for the Lord Jesus to take complete control of our lives. As writer Oswald Chambers puts it, “Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence.”
The Apostle Paul distinctly described self-denial in Galatians 2:20. He said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God; who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Death to ourselves simply means giving over to God the right to ourselves insomuch that God’s absolute will may prevail over our lives.
Daily Covet Refilling of the Holy Spirit. No one can truly serve God in a mighty way except he is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. It is His power or anointing that makes a difference in our service, whether it is menial or spectacular.
Acts 1:8 still stands today. Its intensity in the missionary, evangelical or pastoral work is not diminished at all. It is the promise of God that we ought to covet not just always but daily. We cannot survive serving God in the midst of a crooked world without God’s power through the Holy Spirit.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Such a bigger task given to the Church indeed requires that all servants of God be filled with the Holy Spirit. Our daily communion with Him through prayer, worship and study of the word should be kept intact so that we shall always be anchored on God’s power, making us prepared at all times in serving Him – in carrying out the Great Commission, in reaching the needy, in ministering to the believers, in making disciples of all nations (Mark 16:15-18; Matthew 28:19-20).
Serving the Lord is the noblest task a man can ever do. It is a good thing that God did not only save us but also gave us the privilege to serve Him. With all the given principles in Christian service, God only requires that we serve Him faithfully. May He find us faithful servants in His kingdom till the coming of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, so that He would say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter in to the joy of your Lord!” (Matthew 25:23)