Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men, Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people, a marvelous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden” (Isaiah 29:13-14 New King James Version).
What are our motives for serving the Lord? Do we serve Him with our whole heart? Are we seeking His face before involving ourselves in ministry? Did God even ask us to serve in a particular area for this season? Are we joyful in serving God? Are we exhilarated each time we perform our service? Why are we serving in this ministry? Is it because God has called us, or because we don’t want to let others down? As leaders, do we use guilt as a means to get ministry helpers? Are we allowing God to lead and prosper our ministries? Are we humble enough to accept when someone tells us they don’t feel God leading them in a particular direction; are we humble enough to tell someone God is not leading us in that direction? God does not need our help in deciding who serves in what ministry because He has called all of us according to His purpose. The above are questions we should ask ourselves often. If we are serving God in a ministry or performing a service to make others happy, our hearts are far from the Lord. We pay Him lip service. If we are not obedient to the Lord, no matter what He may tell us to do, we are not pleasing God and our motives have moved from Christ -centered to man -centered.
God has ways of dealing with us when we become man-centered. He will sometimes either remove the leader or the servant. Circumstances could arise that prevent us from serving in ministry. He is in complete control and He wants our obedience, not our busyness in His name. If He has not called us to serve in that capacity, no one should tell us we have to. God has someone else in mind for that position and we shouldn’t stand in the way of what God has for someone else. No matter what it is we do, we need to maintain our focus on the One who has given us the ability to serve and we need to go where He tells us to go regardless of how different, how painful, how lonely or how difficult it may seem. He is preparing and training us for the purpose He has for us and we must become God-pleasers instead of man-pleasers.
Dear sweet precious Jesus, we exalt You and we praise Your Holy name. It is because of You that we are where we are today. We thank You for saving us, we thank You for leading us as our Shepherd. We would still be wandering lost, lonely, hungry and thirsty in the world if You hadn’t whispered our names. Forgive us for trying to look busy to others when perhaps You have called us to be still. Help us to maintain our focus on You, oh Great Shepherd! You are the One who teaches, You are the One who leads, You have our hearts and our devotion. Please allow us to see when we are trying to do things on our own. Please reveal to us those areas in which we are not pleasing You but trying to make man and our flesh happy. Give us the courage to turn from our fleshly ways and desires in order to be obedient to You and to follow You. Holy Spirit, come and fill the empty places of our hearts that have been swept clean of our fleshly desires. Lord, grant us Your grace and humility to move where You would have us, give us courage to speak what You desire and the strength to carry out Your commands. We give You glory and honor today and bless Your name! In the merciful name of Jesus, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Remember it was the work Christ did at Calvary, in paying the ultimate price for our sin, that we are forgiven and have salvation and a place in heaven. It is not how busy we are, how talented we are, how much we know or how much we can do; it’s not how greatly we are liked, nor how popular we are – none of this will make one difference regarding our salvation or the purpose our Father has for us; it’s the work on the cross that Christ did for us. When we take our focus off Christ and put it on our appearance before men, we have turned our hearts from God. Get before the Lord today and pour your heart out to Him and ask for Him to search you and show you those areas in which you seek man’s approval and seek to keep up an appearance before men, and then make a point to become Christ-centered instead of man-centered, even if it means you become “disliked by men”.
Additional Scriptures: Genesis 39:1-41:57; 1 Samuel 15:11, 22-23; Daniel 1:8; Galatians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
“A man may be theologically knowing and spiritually ignorant” (Stephen Charnock).