Monday, June 23, 2014

Serving Jesus As He Wants

All Christians are in love with the idea of serving Jesus. He has done so much for us, how could we not want to do so much for him? The problem happens when he takes us at our word. It is like when someone tells me that they want to help but then they tell me what they are not willing to do. A real offer to help is to help with what I need to have done, not what they perceive I need done.

When we tell Jesus we want to serve him it is never to be according to what we are willing to do but what Jesus needs us to do. To serve is our choice but what gets assigned to us is the Lord's choice. This is what causes the conflict, when the Lord's needs do not match our expectations. That is when we begin to resist Jesus. We see an example of what we do almost daily in an incident with Peter.

Jesus was demonstrating a potent lesson in the type of leaders he had trained them to be, but Peter did not understand:

He came to Simon Peter, who asked Him, “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?” (John 13:6)

Peter's idea of leadership did not match up with what Jesus was demonstrating. He had a fixed idea of what power looked like and how a king should behave, yet here was their king washing their feet?

Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t understand now, but afterward you will know.” (v. 7)

I am sure this is how Jesus responds to us most of the time. Many lessons we face cannot be understood in the moment because we have not yet gained a mature perspective. This is why we trust Jesus. We may not understand today but a day will come when we will understand the purpose. It is enough to trust that he loves us and desires the best for us. Yet, we react like Peter:

“You will never wash my feet—ever!” Peter said. (v. 8)

There are so many things that we refuse to do, so many directions we refuse to take, so many words we refuse to speak because we do not understand. We want to do what we are comfortable with, what we are familiar with, what we understand. But our service to Jesus has many purposes. He uses our service to bring blessings to others. He takes great joy out of fellowship with us in our service. And, he grows us, maturing us in the process of our service. For this reason he calls us to serve where we can't rely on our own strength and have to draw closer to him to receive his strength.

If your desire is to grow into the full measure of Jesus, stop resisting him. Stop saying never. Stop the wrestling. Trust is the cornerstone of our relationship with Jesus and without it we cannot serve him. So let's put away the pretty sentiment and get down to work. He has called you to something beyond your ability. Trust him and step into it. Serve him well.

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