“Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:8)
In our fleshly, fallen state, we are all plagued with a tendency toward selfishness. The bible is clear that being self-centred or only thinking of oneself is a sin. When we think only of ourselves, we tend to forget the needs of others. The slave language of the New Testament likewise underscores this truth. Christians are not only members of a body, subject to one another and called to the fellowship of sacrifice. We are also slaves of Christ, purchased by His blood, owned by Him, and therefore accountable to His lordship. Jesus Himself taught this principle clearly. His invitation to His disciples was a call to total self-denial: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
The final part of the series looks at the importance of Give Time. There are five characteristics of a servant of Christ that we can draw from in Acts 9:15-16. A servant of Christ recognises that he/she,
c. “…to carry my name…” – Acts 9:15 ESV. Read also Colossians 3:17. What does it mean for you to carry God’s name? As a servant of God, how can we best represent Him?
d. “…to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” – Acts 9:15 ESV. Read also 1 Peter 4:10-11. God has assigned Paul to serve a specific community. We are all called to serve others but perhaps some of us may have discovered a passion for a particular group of people (e.g. the elderly, children, youth, vulnerable, young marrieds or young parents etc.)? Speak to your LifeGroup leader or spiritual mentor to get their inputs if you sense that God is leading you to serve a particular community.
e. “For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name” – Acts 9:16 ESV. Read Philippians 3:7-11. It will cost you something to serve God and the cost may be steep. No one promised our new life in Christ would be a rose garden. In serving others, we train our hearts to give selflessly; to pay the cost.
What is God challenging you in this area? Do you serve only when it’s convenient for you? How do we exhibit genuine sacrificial love?
WHAT WILL YOU DO
If we tithe our finances, do we also consider giving our time to serve God’s Kingdom? Do we give the first fruit of our time or our leftovers? We are inclined to look after self-first. However, Jesus is asking us to deny self and to have self-control over our desires and seek to do God’s will rather than our own. Hence, we need to train our hearts to put others first.
We started this series with the aim of developing good time management habits that will bear good fruit in our lives. The first habit we need to cultivate is God Time. Think about it, it is when we encounter God personally and His love that can melt our self-centeredness away and result in a generosity towards others that honours Him. We serve out of love, not obligation or recognition. God honours love as a motive for our service, but He does not honour empty, unloving duty. This is what He meant when He said, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; “A broken and a contrite heart, Oh God, you will not despise” – Psalm 51:17.
In FGA, there are many avenues for you to serve. Go to this page and click “BE A BLESSING” if you are keen to get involved.
“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV