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Pointers along the way #420

Why are we serving God?
- Jacob Ninan

One would think that in the midst of a large percentage of Christians who are merely living for themselves we should be thankful for the comparatively few who are seeking to serve God. But Paul was not naive enough to imagine that everyone who worked along with him was true in their heart (Php.2:20,21). The sad fact is that it is possible for us to look at the external things we are accomplishing 'for God' and assume that we are servants of God. In that way some of us are even 'full time workers'! But God does not merely look at the external things because He knows they can be deceptive. He looks inside our hearts to see why we do what we do, and what He sees there is more important to Him than the sum total of all our accomplishments (1Co.3:12,13).

How can we really serve God? The Bible tells us to do whatever we do to the glory of God (1Co.10:31). We are to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Co.3:17), heartily as for God and not for men (v.23). That is the (only) way to serve God (v.24).

Even if we think we are serving God from our heart as noted above, we can spoil the whole thing in the sight of God if we have an eye looking out for personal glory, fame or gain before people. Temptations will always be there. But if our service is characterised by this kind of self-seeking we need to cleanse ourselves with fear and trembling.

In some Christian circles this self-seeking is so open and blatant that there is no more shame associated with it. Perhaps we are clever enough to keep our self-seeking hidden. But this is not something that can be kept covered up for long (Ps.44:21). When God's time comes, after waiting patiently for a long time hoping that we would repent, He Himself will make sure that we get exposed (Mt.10:26).

There is nothing hidden from the Lord's eyes which are always searching our thoughts and intentions of our heart (He.4:12,13). Do we imagine that we can fool people here with crafty words and strategies for which we would not have to give an account to God one day (2Co.5:10)? Paul knew this so clearly in his own mind that he did his best to alert the others also (v.11).

Paul gave us the example of living with a clear conscience before God and also seeking to make sure that men who dealt with him knew that about him (2Co.4:2). We know it is easier said than done not only because our own heart is very deceptive on one side but also because it is easy for others to consider everyone else to be just like them. But if our conscience does not condemn us we will have confidence before God (1Jn.3:21), and that will have to suffice sometimes.

The greatest reward we can receive is to hear the Lord Himself saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Let us desist from seeking great things for ourselves (Jer.45:5).


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