Matthew 16:24 – “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” NASB
In this passage, our LORD is speaking of service! If I understand the meaning of service as implied and taught in the Bible, I discover it involves total commitment or surrender of all that we have and all that we are to god. It is to place Him before all and above all.
I am convinced after over 50 years of Christian ministry that too many people have little desire to become involved. They are satisfied with the status quo, not wanting to rock the boat. Some churches have grown into a condition of formalism and lost the Power of Christianity. That is tragic! I am convinced that the reason we sometimes do not have what we need spiritually is because we have become deficient in some areas of our Christian walk. I don’t mean that as a railing indictment but a factual reality that is correctable. I believe that to serve God in the biblical manner prescribed God’s Word, four things are needed: Love, Faith, Involvement and Determination.
LOVE IS NECESSARY. (Matthew 22:37-40)
Although there are, more inter-division, basically there are two kinds of love. There is brotherly love which can be both paternal and maternal and there is heavenly love which is love for, of, and unto God. Heavenly love is unselfish love. If we are to truly serve God, we must have a love for God and a love for man that is manifested in Christlikeness. It is a demonstrated and compassionate love.
Our LORD was moved with compassion which could be rendered “He was compelled by love.” He saw the need and reached out to bring a resolution and extend His help and grace. We need this kind of love to enable us to love as He loves and that comes with the ‘new heart’ of the ‘new birth.’ Love seeks to protect and provide for that which is loved. Jesus’ love for mankind should shine through us as we love as He loves. The message and demonstration of Love is a sign of our salvation.
FAITH IS NECESSARY. (Hebrews 11:1)
There are basically two kinds of faith. You may argue that there are many more divisions of variations, but I suggest that there is Dead Faith (inactive and rooted in head knowledge) and there is Living Faith (active and established on our confidence in His Promises and His word).
In order to accept God’s Word as Truth, we must exercise faith. I believe that the Bible teaches that Faith was ever-increasing. Why do I say that? Because in Romans 10:17 that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.” Therefore, the more we hear the more our faith grows. I believe that faith like gifts, abilities, and muscles grow in use and deteriorate with lack of use. If we believe that God can we step out on His promises and exercise faith. Faith, in a sense, is the confidence that what God says is! We know that without Faith it is impossible to please God. He demands our trust!
INVOLVEMENT IS NECESSARY. (James 1:22)
I said earlier that some do not want to become involved and are satisfied with the status quo, but I contend that we are involved. We are involved through our birth into the kingdom and family of God. We have become targets of hell and have our marching orders from the Throne of God to ‘Go.’ It is important to remember the words of Jesus, “If you love me keep my commandments.” You are in the Army of the Lord and a target of the devil, so why not fully invest yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to equip and empower you to pull down strongholds?
DETERMINATION IS NECESSARY. (Genesis 32:24-26)
Love may cause us to want to do something, but unless we set our faces like flints and become determined to see it through to the finish, we will not fight the good fight and finish the course. We will become discouraged and throw in the towel. The directive of Paul in Galatians 6:9 – “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
The beginning is of no value or importance if we do not finish the course. Paul finished his course. Jesus cried, “It is Finished!” Jacob refused to turn God loose until He was blessed, and Elisha refused to accept anything but a double portion anointing. They were determined. Daniel determined he would not defile himself and his faith, obedience, and determination elevated him to rulership in the kingdom.
Love will motivate us to both trust and become engaged in the work of the Lord. The knowledge of what God can do and His love for mankind will inspire us to become determined and never be satisfied with less than God’s Perfect Will. We are more than conquerors through Jesus and if we abide in Him and His word in us, we have the assurance of answered prayers and the ability to pull down strongholds.
Let’s set our hearts to serve God with our whole heart! May the LORD bless you richly as you enjoy this day in Him!