Are You “Stepping Up” or Are You “Copping Out?”
We have arrived at that time of year where we look forward to celebrating the birth of our dear savior Jesus Christ. As well, it is often the time of year where we reflect over the past so that we might plan for what is ahead. It is with the thought of reflection that I want to ask you some tough questions. These questions are not being asked to scold or embarrass you but to help you assess where you are in your daily walk with your Lord in an effort to better plan for what is ahead.
Are you a servant first and last? I’m not talking about whether you teach a Sunday school class or attend Wednesday night Bible study. I’m not asking you if you are on a committee at church or serve in the nursery. I am asking you if every day, right where you are, do you see yourself as God’s servant first and last. Colossians 3:23-24 tells us “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Remember that in all you do, you are serving Jesus Christ and while it may seem to have little to no reward from those around you, we must focus on God’s promise of an inheritance that only He can provide. Satan often uses the tools of discouragement to try and persuade us that our service is of no value. When you feel discouraged or unappreciated remember 1 Timothy 1:12 which says “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.” Serve with your heart and soul because you are a servant of the King of Kings!
Have you been changed from the inside out? Romans 12:1-2 says “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” You see in order for us to have the greatest benefit of God’s “perfect will” we have to go through this transformation. Our salvation comes about by a changed heart but our walk with the Lord requires a “renewing of the mind.” We have to think differently in order to act differently so this transformation is essential. However, we often ask how we will know if someone has been transformed. I believe John gives us a good description when he says “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” If we have been changed from the inside out, if we have been “transformed,” then it will be seen in our actions and not just our words. Philippians 2:5 sums it up beautifully when it says “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
Are you “stepping up” or are you “copping out?” Men are often bothered by this concept of being a “servant” because they see it as something that takes away their masculinity and control. Satan has claimed many a victory because of this thinking. Jesus made it very clear when he said “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ ‘Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ ‘The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” This is not just about you personally “doing” things but it is also about using the resources God has given you to help others serve where you may not be able to go. We don’t do these things for our own recognition or glory but to glorify our Heavenly Father. Peter describes it this way “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” So as the t-shirt says “do you have the nerve, the nerve to serve?” Step up and serve the One who’s grace and mercy has saved you and don’t cop out on the calling he has placed on your life. God needs you to serve right where you are right now.
As this will be the last issue of 2008 ThunderHeart Ministries wishes you and yours a blessed Christmas and, most importantly, please remember the reason for the season!