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Pointers along the way #415

Serving by choice
- Jacob Ninan

Jesus said emphatically that it would not be possible to serve two masters. We would end up preferring one over the other (Mt.6:24). He illustrated it by using the example of serving God or mammon. If we begin serving mammon it would only be a matter of time before we stop really serving God.

But mammon is just one alternative god we can choose. We may go after wanting to make a name for ourselves or seeking for pleasure in various forms, and then also what would happen is that we lose sight of God and stop thinking of obeying Him. We may still keep God as a part of our life, but just nominally, while our real god becomes the one we serve--money, fame, pleasure, etc. (Ro.6:16).

All these gods can be put under one category--seeking our own interests rather than God's. If we have such gods it shows that we have not learnt to recognise God as our Lord to whom we owe undivided loyalty and obedience. God deserves that level of respect and exaltation because He has loved us unworthy sinners, and exalted us to become His children. Our reasonable response is to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God (Ro.12:1), and to live the rest of our life to do His will and to exalt His name (2Co.5:14,15).

The apostle Paul recognised his real position in relation to God and expressed it this way, "God forbid that I should boast about anything or anybody except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, which means that the world is a dead thing to me and I am a dead man to the world. JBP" (Ga.6:14). All that mattered to Paul now was God, what He thought about him, what He wanted him to do, how His name could be honoured, how His kingdom could be established, etc., and not what people thought about him, what he had to go through in order to accomplish what God wanted him to do, how uncomfortable his life was, etc.

We mustn't understand this in an unrealistic or fanatical way. Certainly as long as Paul was in this world he had earthly needs and it was not that he only 'served God'! He worked to earn his living, and he prayed for God's provisions for his life. But the focus of his heart was not on himself but on God. Serving God was what was uppermost in his heart, even while he did what were necessary for his living. God is not looking for ascetics!

Whatever we do, even eating and drinking, we are to do for the glory of the Lord (1Co.10:31). Whatever we do, we are to do heartily--from the heart, with all our heart into it--because we are ultimately serving the Lord (Col.3:23,24). This obviously eliminates all activities that can dishonour or grieve God. If we carry on with such activities it shows that we ourselves are our god, and that we have dethroned Jesus from the throne of our life, at least for that time. But it is about being spiritually minded about the ordinary things of life.

We need to watch over our heart (Pr.4:23) to ensure that we keep seeking to be always pleasing to the Lord (2Co.5:9), even if we stumble now and then.


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