In my goal to Simply Serve, how do I even begin? I suppose I could just find a need and fill it, but God seems to have far more in mind.
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. I Corinthians 13 The Message
I could teach little children, lead women, and serve a meal, but if I am doing all of this without His love…it is nothing in the Eye of my Beholder. After doing a recent study on love, I have found myself lacking. I have a great desire to be walking and talking His Love in this world. I long to feel love-ly – to have lovely thoughts and emotions. I have failed over and over. When I cringe at next week’s lesson or put off another opportunity to meet with someone or skip this week’s meal need – those are moments that are hottest within the soul. I face myself in those situations and wonder at what really could be made of me.
24I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
25The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.
1-2With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. Romans 7:24-8:2 The Message
Thankfully, God is not intimidated or appalled at my reflection. He doesn’t shrink back at the mess I am; instead He comes running with a new garment to drape over my sin-torn clothing. He covers my weakness in His grace and fills my need by His love. (Forever the teacher of how it is done.)
God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. Romans 8:29 The Message
The beginning of serving others does not begin with their need or my ability; the beginning of serving others lies in His beginning in me. Is His Spirit beginning to transform my thoughts, re-form my heart, conform my will, re-shape my life? Is His love covering the sin in my life? filling my life with joy? seasoning my words? motivating my actions? restoring? overflowing?
Is my service beginning with Him? or me?
But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s! Romans 8:9-11 The Message