Serve with Abandon

Monday – Hebrews 8.6-13 “At one time or another, all of us have felt the heavy weight of serving out of duty or obligation. What is the remedy? Fall in love with Jesus, over and over again. Let him work from the inside, giving you the grace-filled ‘want to’ to replace the ‘have to’ of duty.” (Richard Foster in Devotional Classics) Each day this week, ask God to free you from the “have to’s” of duty, asking him to deepen your “want to” of desire for loving and serving.

Tuesday – Matthew 6.10 The will of God being done in human relationships is often simply dependent on our yielding control of our will to Him. Praying that God will change our hearts to desire to embrace His way is an important prayer that He uses to transform our heart’s desire. Surrender is the key. “If you are in bondage in the matter of serving, put your will into the hands of your Lord, surrendering to Him the entire control of it.” (Hannah Whithall Smith, The Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life)

Wednesday – Philippians 1.9-11 When we think of serving God by serving others, we tend to begin by thinking “what needs to be done?” Begin with prayer. Sincere prayer offered for another is a strong means of serving God and others. Praying for others, as Paul did for the believers at Philippi in this passage, shapes our hearts to think deeply about what those we are praying for need most. Praying for others develops our desire to serve and gives us insight into how best to serve.

Thursday – John 13:12-17 Talk about "downward mobility"! Jesus shakes up our perspective on  power, leadership, and serving others. He models for us that the Jesus way is being a "servant who leads" and not vice versa. The heart of God is expressed in loving service of human need. What is a simple way you can follow his example today? The first  step may be to pray to have more of his love for others.

Friday – Philippians 2.1-4 It is likely that most of us do not over-serve. But, there are people who do. Paul assumes here that the Philippians would look after their own needs. He’s wanting them to balance their lives, caring for the needs of others as they would their own. Some serve others so much that they neglect their own needs or maybe the needs of those that are closest to them−their families. “We need to be aware of the condition of our own souls and bodies, and to take care of that first, without feeling any guilt about it. We can only give (serve) well when we are grounded and rested.” (James Bryan Smith in The Good and Beautiful Community)

Saturday – Philippians 2.5-11 God, in his very nature, has a desire to serve, as seen in Jesus. He’s radically committed to our well being. Do you have any problems with giving up what you feel are your “rights” to privilege in order to seek the best for another? Dennis Kinlaw’s words are helpful: “There is a power in the Cross that can set us free from the tyranny of self-interest that either controls or contaminates our lives. If we let him set us free, we can relax and rest in him−no longer driven to strive for what we desire for ourselves. We will find that his desires become ours. That oneness is the real freedom.” (This Day with the Master) Pray today, that God will help you to surrender your will to Him. Ask him to set you free from the tyranny of self-rule, asking that his desires become yours as you serve others.