Philippians Study - Lesson 3
In our last Philippians post we talked about what it means to be a BONDSERVANT of Jesus Christ. If you missed it, you can read more here -https://www.bystillwater.org/single-post/2017/09/26/Philippians-Lesson-2-cont
At this point in your life, you may not feel able to serve God and others cheerfully with humility and love, but don’t let that be a discouragement to you. The heart of a bondservant can be God’s gift to you, formed in different ways in each one of us. It is a part of God’s good work in us, that He has begun, and that He has promised to perfect and complete.
Luke 1:74-75 says we are to serve “before Him” or “in His presence” all the days of our lives. What does that mean, to serve before Him? In Keith Miller’s book, A Second Touch, I think he illustrates this well for us. Keith was greatly impressed by a winning football team. He writes, “They had a reputation for jumping up after being tackled, running back into the huddle, snapping out, and hitting hard with another play. When the excitement of the game mounted and the crowd grew frantic (the other team often becoming rattled), these boys worked like parts of a well oiled machine. One day, as I watched the game, I understood how this could be. Although the crowd might not know if each boy executed his specific assignment well, the coach would know... So, these boys were playing their game to a different audience. They were playing it to the coach, and that had freed them from the franticness of the crowd!”
As you serve, don’t play it to an audience. Serve before the Lord, serve within His presence. Play it to Him.
Servanthood, as it is presented in scripture is not defined by actions as much as by attitudes. The attitudes of the Bondservant must honor God. Then, the actions will simply be the outer manifestations, the outer indications, of inner convictions. This is living life from the inside out.
A favorite verse that sheds interesting light on this idea is Psalm 2:11. I want to share it with you out of two different translations. In the New International Version we read, “Serve the Lord with fear.” That same verse as we find it in the New American Standard says, “Worship the Lord with reverence.”
Why such a difference in these translations? To understand is to bring a whole new dimension to understanding servanthood.
The Hebrew word translated SERVE here includes in it the idea of worshipping God through service. What is worship? It is an expression of REVERENT LOVE and ARDENT DEVOTION.
The Hebrew word translated FEAR includes in it the feeling of AWE (an emotion of wonder), and of REVERENCE (a feeling of profound respect).
Our service should be an act of worship. It should be an expression of our reverent love and ardent devotion to God. We should serve with a feeling of profound respect for the One we are playing it to: and with a deep sense of wonder and awe.
I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said that nothing was hard unless you don’t want to do it. And that is certainly true as we think of being bondservants of Jesus Christ.
We are to serve with gladness and with rejoicing. In Psalm 100:2 we read, “Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before His presence with singing.”
What is your thinking day by day? Is it, "Lord, thank you for the strength to serve you; it is my glory to serve you; it is my greatest joy! What happiness it brings me to know that as I carry out the responsibilities you have entrusted to me, I serve my Lord. . ."?
Sad to say it is common to find us serving with grumbling and with murmuring. So often we feel imposed upon. We lack strength. There is no joy.
In Deuteronomy 28: 47-48, we find a interesting thought and a provoking comment on serving. These verses refer to the children of Israel and served as a warning to them and as a warning to us as well, “Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in your time of prosperity; therefore, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemy the Lord sends against you.”
And what are the enemies that we will find ourselves in bondage to? The things that limit our lives. That hold us in bondage. That deprive us of God’s blessings. Our feelings of fear, of unworthiness, of inadequacy. Our own selfishness. Our self-centeredness. Our self seeking.
Certainly all of us, as we serve, come to those times when we feel at the end of our ropes. There may be times when we have wondered as we serve if there isn’t more to life than this. We may feel that in the ceaseless serving we have been called to render, we have literally lost our lives.
But Jesus tells us that “she who loses her life for My sake will find it.” Note that the scriptures does not say, "she who loses their life will find it". No, the promise is good only for those who lose their life for Christ’s sake. The promise is she who loses her life in order to be My bondservant, she who loses her life in order to serve Me with joy, she will find Me. And the JOY of the Lord will be her strength.
Once she has found this truth, what will she find? That in as much as she did it to the least of these my brethren, she did it unto Me.
Teach your children that the greatest calling, the greatest privilege in life is TO SERVE.
Years ago, my little granddaughter, Erin, was with me in the kitchen and she said, “Mama, may I help you?” And I grabbed her up and kissed her and I hugged her and I said “Yes, Erin you may help me. Darling, do you know that being a helper is the way to be happy in your life?
This brings us to the last point. Serve Him all the days of your life. Anyone can make a beginning, but to follow through day after day, therein lies the challenge!
Here is a prayer in closing:
"Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ... I want to stand with them and you can join me, Marjorie Jackson, Bondservant of Jesus Christ. Ones who have chosen to be dependent on You, to be obedient to You. Ones who have chosen to belong to You. That is the role, Lord, that I choose for my life. No that I have attained it, but I open my life to receive it. By God’s grace, for me and house, we will serve the Lord. A servants heart is not my gift to you, Lord, it is Your gift to me. And as I expected, in truth, Jesus Christ becomes for me and for my family — the heart of home.
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you in his word and in his love until we meet again. In Jesus' name, so be it."