Serve God with Zeal and Intensity

>> Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Romans 12 provides us with one of scripture’s clearest pictures of practical Christ-like living. We see scripture’s exhortation to live a life marked with action. I believe a healthy understanding and practice of these things help us “put to death” the old self and actively “put on” the new self, helps us in the practice of “setting our minds on things above”, helps our transformation by the “renewing of our minds”, helps us to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus”.

Here is what scripture teaches us in Romans 12:9-13:
• Allow love to be genuine
• Utterly detest evil and hold on to what is good
• Love the body with brotherly affection
• Excel in showing honor
Activate zeal and show intensity in spirit in service to God
• Rejoice in hope, patient in tribulation, constant in prayer
• Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek opportunities for hospitality

Oswald Chambers, when writing about our purpose in serving God, said this, “Beware of going back to what you once were, when God wants you to be something that you have never been.”
John 13:17 tells us that “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

This begs the question, what are we to know? I believe from this scripture and the insights of Godly men like Chambers, that we are to know the reality of who were made to be.

So much of our daily lives are mired in the mundane. We are too easily appeased by snacking on what the world can offer our self-centered appetites. Even in our attempts at serving God, we too often are content to “spend all [our] time in the calm waters just inside the harbor, full of joy, but always tied to the dock” as Chambers wrote.  It’s when we “get out past the harbor into the great depths of God, and begin to know things for [ourselves that we] begin to have spiritual discernment”.

So what does our knowledge of God really have to do with our service for Him? This sounds like an unusual question, but isn’t this the question we too often ignore. If you’re like me, you often get discernment and service out of balance too easily. We meditate on God just enough to get the engine cranked and then spin off in a blur of service – only to find ourselves sputtering to a halt in need of fresh meditation. I know that I need balance in this area of my life. The key to this healthy balance can be found in understanding who we were made to be.

I’m currently reading through Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem. In this book he concisely summarizes some of the great deep nuggets from his Systematic Theology. In his insights on What Is Man?, Grudem explains that mankind, being made in the image of God, finds fullness of joy in “knowing God and delighting in him”. He further explains that, “because of sin, God’s image in us is partly distorted.”  Now enter the Gospel – The Good News – that “God’s image is being restored”.  As a follower of Christ – one who is of the way – we have responsibility given by God to “replicate His image across the earth” as a demonstration of “all the places where God rules and reigns”.

In light of the scripures, Grudem's explanation of God, man, and The Gospel along with Chambers’ thoughts on Christian service, I’ve found some clarity in regards to this imbalance in my life.

When we find discernment in who God is and realize our true purpose in being an image-bearer of Him, we can confidently go about serving Him with zeal. The reality that there are so many in our world who do not know the Good News that God’s image is being restored, forces upon us a necessity to live a life of service with intensity.

Scripture is clear that the harvest is ripe and the workers are few. We must be about bearing the image of God so that others will “see [our] good deeds and glorify [our] Father who is in Heaven”. We must be about making disciples and walking in unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must be intentional in being salt and light in a world of decay and darkness.

When the lost of this world who are “dead in trespasses and sins” see the image of God through our service, they find purpose and the reality that God can restore His image within them to His glory. This should become our constant motivation to serve with zeal and intensity.

serving to bear a clearer image,

:: Other posts in this series on "Christ-Likeness" from Romans 12 ::


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