Recently Lori and I have been talking about what it means to completely "serve God." We ask each other all sorts of questions and go back and forth, sometimes feeling like our point hits the nail on the head while other times we feel like we aren't even hitting the target. Eventually, we realize that the conversation leads to more questions and we wind up on an endless circle of conversations that travel down many paths.
We enjoy these times together immensely. It is during these moments when the Bible pages are flipping back and forth faster than a deck of cards in the hands of a Vegas poker dealer and our thoughts and hearts are completely stimulated by God's Spirit. We are fully engrossed and united in one thing... discovering what God has to say on a particular subject.
So what does it mean to serve God? What does it look like in your life and mine? Often we think that if someone flies off to another country and gives up their normal way of living then they must truly be serving God. Or when a couple starts a church, or a ministry, or feeds the homeless... that's when they are serving God. Those things are good things and He definitely calls us to this or that. But, I see that the acts of service that many of us call "serving God" are really just a response rather than what the Bible teaches us about serving God. Let me explain...
Act 17:24-25 ESV The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, (25) nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
Though we may think just the opposite, God does not need our service. He doesn't enlist a man or woman to go forth because He can not get a task accomplished without them. The reality is that God desires our heart. He desires our affection and love. So to serve Him really isn't about going out and doing something to show God and others how faithful we are to Him. Serving Him is simply submitting your life to Him and seeking after the truth of the Gospel message in your life no matter where you are at.The Gospel is as much for the saint as it is for the sinner. When we look at the message of Paul to the Romans, in chapter one he is explaining to the brothers and sisters in the church that he is eager to preach the gospel to them. At first glance that seems a bit odd. Haven't they already heard the gospel and aren't they a part of the faith? The answer to that is absolutely 'yes.' But Paul realizes through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that salvation is not a one time decision after you hear the gospel message. It is not a get out of hell free card as many may believe. Rather, it is an ongoing process in the believer. Later in Romans 5, Paul tells us that "we shall be saved from the wrath to come."
Living the gospel is what "serving God" looks like. Eating, sleeping, breathing the gospel message is our service to God. We distract our hearts and minds with endless nonsense and wonder why it is hard to serve others. We try to find new techniques to free us from the fear of evangelizing when it would come naturally if our life looked different than the rest of the world and we were sold out ourselves. It is much easier to share a conviction when that in which you are sharing is already a part of you. We are constantly saying no to the next "big thing" because we are consumed with so many non-essentials.
Serving God is not about "doing" for God. It isn't limited to the select group of people who step out in faith and go beyond what looks ordinary. Serving God is simply seeking Christ moment by moment and giving Him the place of honor and glory in our life. When the Gospel of Christ is so intertwined into the fabric of our life, then going out and performing acts of service for God is just a natural response to the love that we have for Him.