Many people within Christianity have grown up in homes where parents had the family in church every time the doors were open, at every church function, and actively participating in the church services in some way. All of these are great things for families to do, but sometimes these tasks can become just a habit with no heart for service behind them.
Attending a church that provided me with ample opportunities to serve was great, but there were times, I have to admit, that I participated only because I knew it was expected of me.
Not only can serving become habit, but sometimes when we have been around church and the Bible for our entire life, salvation and the gospel can become something we know, but may not live by. It is so easy to say the right words, give the right answer, or do the right thing. In my own experience, doubt has been a huge issue.
When I was thirteen, after realizing that the profession of faith I made when I was ﬁve (which I have no remembrance of) was not sincere, I accepted Christ as my personal Savior. Since then I have struggled with doubt multiple times – doubting if I meant what I prayed, doubting if I said the right words, and doubting if I really believed what I said. I knew the right words to say, but did I really believe them?
“Our service to Christ should be out of a love for Him rather than a desire for praise…Nothing we ever do will compare to what Christ has done for us. But the cross should motivate us to serve.”
One day, while receiving godly counsel, it hit me! It was never about what I said or what I did. Salvation is ONLY about what Jesus Christ did on the cross for me, and the grace that He bestowed on me by making His salvation available. Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” I was reminded while teaching two and three-year-olds in Sunday School that it only takes the simple faith of a child to receive God’s salvation when a two-year-old boy said, “Jesus died on the cross for our sins!”
Serving and salvation are not about me, but about my Savior, Jesus Christ. Deuteronomy 10:12 says, “And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, and to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” If we are loving and serving God with all our heart and all our soul, then there will be no room to serve ourselves. I cannot say that when I serve it has always been for God and never for me. It is so easy to get wrapped up in making sure that others think well of me because I am serving, but my desire is to focus on whether or not I am pleasing my Savior.
While growing up in a Christian home, I followed my parents’ standards and convictions. The older I became, the more they encouraged me to develop my own personal standards and convictions from Scripture rather than just blindly following others. Deciding on my own biblical convictions came into play when I left home for college, and even more so since I have graduated. It is so important that we base our personal convictions on the Scripture and not on what man says. When we learn to focus on the Scripture and on our Savior we will develop a desire to serve Him whole-heartedly.
Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of service. When people think of Christ serving, they often recall Him washing the disciples’ feet. Jesus did not wash the disciples’ feet so that others would praise Him. He washed their feet because He loved them and wanted to serve them in that way. Our service to Christ should be out of a love for Him rather than a desire for praise. Obviously, Christ’s ultimate act of service was giving Himself on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Nothing we ever do will compare to what Christ has done for us, but the cross should motivate us to service.
Give of your best to the Master,
Nought else is worthy His love;
He gave Himself for your ransom,
Gave up His glory above.
Laid down His life without murmur,
You from sin’s ruin to save;
Give Him your heart’s adoration,
Give Him the best that you have.
H. B. Grose 1851-1939
Written by Laura Osbore. This article was published in the Fall 2011 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine. Laura lives in Florida with her family.