Third, do you declare … that it is your heartfelt desire to serve him according to his Word …?
As a Christian you don’t live for yourself, but you live for the Lord. The Bible is very clear on this. The most celebrated people in the Bible called themselves “servants” of God.
Who are these “servants” in Exodus 4:13; 1 Samuel 3:10; 2 Samuel 7:20; Acts 4:27; Philippians 1:1a?
Created to serve
In Gen. 2:15, we read how God took Adam and placed him in the garden “to work it and take care of it.” The first verb is literally “to serve”. Just like a custodian serves by taking care of a building and protecting it, so we serve our Creator by taking care of the world in which he places us.
At the same time, God had told Adam: “Have dominion over the earth”— serve by being in charge over things! We serve God by taking charge of the world he gave us. Being a ruler but doing our work for our Lord. We are not like slavish workers who only follow instructions to the letter. We are like employees with much freedom, invited to take initiative but expected to faithfully serve a greater purpose.
When you make profession of faith, you say: “Lord, I want to do what I was made to do. I want to be a good and faithful servant. I want to use my life, my energy, my intelligence and creativity to do what you want me to do.” You acknowledge that you work not for yourself but for your Lord. You commit to follow his agenda.
Serving through worship
One way in which we serve the Lord is through rituals of worship. “Shout to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness. Come before him with singing.” (Psalm 100:1-2) Serving God is not only work; it also involves spending an enjoyable time of spending time with him. Happy cheering, joyful singing. Being glad that you belong to the Lord and telling him so. That is the heart of our liturgy (another word for “serving”, by the way). We will talk about liturgy later.
Serving through godly living
The other way in which we serve the Lord is in our everyday living, especially in our relationship with others. “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Rom. 12:1) This verse shows that worship is not separate from our lives. Going to church, reading the Bible, and praying are not disconnected from your study, job, and entertainment. Real worship includes all of our lives.
One of the biggest mistake believers make is to think that the Lord wants worship rituals, but doesn’t care much about your daily activities.
Read Micah 6:8. What does God require of you? (And what doesn’t he require, based on v. 6-7?)
Read James 1:27. What two aspects are there to the kind of “religion” God accepts? What do they mean practically in your life?
The New Testament often describes a godly Christian life as doing “good works”. This does not merely mean that you stay away from bad and evil things. It is much more than keeping your nose clean. “Good works” is going out of your way to care for others. Helping those in need. Standing up for justice and against unfair treatment of people. Sharing your wealth with other people. Being generous with your time and effort for others.
Read the description of Tabitha/Dorcas in Acts 9:36, 39. Why was she a celebrated disciple of Jesus? What Dorcas-like things might you be able to do?
Read Ephesians 2:10. How important is doing good works in your life?
Motivation to serve
Serving the Lord is not easy for us, because we like to be our own masters. There are three things to keep in your mind for motivation.
First, people like to be their own masters but they really can’t. If you are not led by the Spirit of Jesus, you are in the clutches of Satan. You will always have a master who is in charge. If it is not the Lord, then it is Satan; and he is a cruel master.
Second, the Lord Jesus gave us the perfect example. The gospel gives us the picture of Jesus with a towel around his waist, washing the feet of his disciples. “If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should do the same to each other” (John 13:15). If ever we become competitive as Christians, we must realize the rule of the Kingdom of God: “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Jesus is our greatest Lord because he became the greatest servant. He served his disciples, he was obedient to God, he humbled himself to the point of death. Now there is a source of inspiration!
Third, we have been created to serve the Lord. Our life is most fruitful and happy if we do God’s work faithfully. What gives glory to him is also best for us. When Jesus Christ returns and renews this world, human life will flourish. What will it be like? One thing I know for sure: we will be serving the Lord perfectly, in worship and work in the new world, and that will make us most happy.
- When the Bible calls us to do “good works”, does that mean helping fellow Christians (or fellow church members), or does it apply to all people?
Memorize: LD 33 q&a 91.
Journal item: Identify three ways in which you can serve the Lord. One should be related to worship; at least one should be related to helping others. Be specific, thinking about your personal gifts and strengths. Write one paragraph about each of the three.