Saturday, June 28, 2008

Serving with Joy

If you do not serve the Lord your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received, you will serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you (Deut. 28L47-48a NLT).

Today, I see something entirely different in this passage. It speaks to me about the way in which we are to serve the Lord. I see in this short statement the attitude and equipping for serving God. We can (and should) serve him with joy and enthusiasm because he has abundantly gifted us with the ability to do everything he asks us to do. That is, God does not call us to struggle, with our limited resources, to serve him. He loads us with "abundant benefits" (natural and spiritual). Among these benefits are the very tools for serving him.

We don’t have to serve him with fear of not knowing how, because he said he would teach us.

"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19).

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me . . .” (Matt. 11:29a).

We don’t have to shrink back from serving him because of feelings of inadequacy—we are merely “jars of clay,” but the power of God works through us anyway.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Cor. 4:7).

We should not allow ourselves to be immobilized by the memory of our latest failure, but step back into the light and allow the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from the tendency to sin.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

Jesus encapsulated what it is like to serve him when he said:

“[M]y yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:30 NIV).

I like the Message version of this verse and the two verses before it. This passage is a good summary of all of today’s thoughts.

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly" (Matt. 11:28-30 MSG).

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