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by Jacob Ninan
Like in many other things, Jesus has given us a tremendous example in serving God. If we can understand the principles under which He worked, they can help us in guiding our own lives. We don't have to be some great 'servants of God' as the world understands now a days, in order to serve God. We may be ordinary people seeking to please God, witness for Jesus and serve Him in our own limited capacity. But if we see how Jesus lived and served His Father, it can make a tremendous difference in our own lives.
When people think of following Jesus, many think of doing the things that Jesus did, like miracles, healing, casting out demons, etc. What we have to do depends on what God has called us to do. If we are to be a hand in the body of Christ, it is no use if we keep trying to see or speak. We shall only become frustrated. I am not trying to address how to do all the things Jesus did, but how to live and serve God the way He did.
One phrase describes very clearly one major secret of Jesus' life. He came to the earth to do His Father's will (He.10:5-9). That was ALL that mattered to Him while on earth. The Father's will included dying on the cross for us. But whether it concerned major things like that or small things like what to speak to different people, Jesus always sought to know the Father's will and do it.
This was the same attitude the apostle Paul had. When he was going to Damascus and had a vision of Jesus, the first thing he asked Jesus was, "What shall I do, Lord?" (Ac.22:10). When we 'see' Jesus as our Lord, isn't that the proper response that we should also have? Paul said later on that if we saw and experienced the mercies of God, our proper response should be to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God, do His will (Ro.12:1). If we have experienced the love of God towards us, we are constrained to live the rest of our lives doing His will and not our own will (2Co.5:14,15).
For Jesus, this 'will of God' covered every aspect of His life. He never did anything on His own initiative, but as He heard from the Father He did (Jn.5:30).
He did not allow Himself to be led by people, even if the 'people' concerned were His own mother, or brothers and sisters. When His mother suggested that He should do something when the wine ran out at the wedding at Cana, His response was a respectful but firm refusal to do anything apart from what His Father told Him to (Jn.2:3,4).
Jesus did not simply do what custom demanded. When everybody was expected to go to Jerusalem at the time of the Jewish festival, He did not fall in line without checking with the Father whether that was what was to be done at that time (Jn.7:3-8).
How did He avoid becoming pigheaded and self-willed about 'doing the Father's will'? He was not seeking any honour for Himself from people, or anything for Himself, for that matter (Jn.8:50;Jn.5:30). He was simply and plainly seeking to do His Father's will - full stop. He left all the choice of what that will was, to the Father. He also left all that could happen as a consequence, to the Father. That is a level of faith that challenges us. We come short when we are afraid of the consequences of doing God's will and also when we get muddled up in what we are seeking to do.
Jesus was not legalistic. He did not think when the Father had revealed His will in some particular matter, that it was what was to be done every time. He was flexible, and willing to make exceptions to His previous understanding when the Father showed Him some aspect of His will which He had not seen before. For example, He knew that He had been basically sent to the people of Israel (Mt.15:24). But He was not pigheaded about it when the Father told Him to minister to a Roman centurion or a Syrophoenician woman (Mt.8:5-12;Mk.7:25-30). He understood very well the overriding importance of compassion and mercy in comparison to other parts of the truth (Mt.9:13;Jas.2:13).
Jesus did not follow the letter of the law and condemn other people, as the Pharisees did. He would look at and see the heart. When His disciples ate the grain in the field as they were walking through it on a Sabbath day, He could see that in their heart they were innocent (Lk.6:1-4). When the people brought to Him a woman caught in adultery, He could look into her heart and seek the pain and sorrow over her sins, even without her saying anything (Jn.8:3-11). He had not come to break the battered reed or to put out the smoldering wick (Mt.12:20).
The will of the Father was so important to Jesus that He spent long time seeking to find out what it was at different times. Morning by morning He waited on the Father to hear about what to do and speak (Is.50:4). When it concerned major decisions, He spent long hours in prayer, like the time when He had to choose His twelve disciples, and when He had to make sure about the Father's will concerning dying on the cross.
The Living Bible paraphrases 1Co.4:2 as, "Now the most important thing about a servant is that he does just what his master tells him to." When the will of God becomes important to us, what we will do is to seek God to find out what it is, by searching the scriptures, listening to what godly men have to tell us through their spoken and written messages and seeking God's heart in prayer ourselves. Then we can serve Him in the way He has planned for us. God promises us that if we have made up our mind to do His will, He will make it clear to us (Jn.7:17). We will also seek God for power to deny ourselves and to do His will all the time.
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