And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the LORD your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. And you must always obey the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.— Deuteronomy 10:12-13
Have you ever asked yourself, “What does God expect from me?” Moses gives us a summary that is simple in form and easy to remember. Here are the essentials: (1) Fear God; (2) Live in a way that pleases him; (3) Love him; (4) Serve him with all your heart and soul; and (5) Obey his commands. Too often we complicate our faith with man-made rules, regulations, and requirements.
Are you frustrated and burned out from trying hard to please God? Concentrate on his real requirements and find peace. Respect, follow, love, serve, and obey. When you do these things life doesn’t seem quite so difficult.
Serving God is not optional. People come up with all manner of excuses: too old, too young, too busy, too tired, too sick—and the list goes on. Yet every reason is rendered void by the facts of Scripture, which says that believers are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
Someday we will stand before God, and He will require an accounting of how we used the talents and spiritual gifts we were given. What can we say to Him that will justify ignoring the opportunities He gave us to use those gifts? No excuse will hold up. Complete surrender to God’s will is the key to pleasing Him.
The Lord gives us talents and abilities for a purpose, and He will equip us for greater service to His kingdom. When we serve Him wholeheartedly, we can look forward to hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matt. 25:21).
Personal ambition and servant-hood aren’t always compatible. In fact, they are often at odds with each other. A servant’s goal is to please his or her master in whatever way is required, but personal ambition strives for self-advancement. Jesus’ words from today’s passage must have sounded foreign to the disciples’ ears since, according to the thinking of their culture, greatness was acquired by striving for it, not by serving.
Like them, we live in a world where many people are seeking to make a name for themselves. They set goals, make plans, and do whatever is necessary to achieve what they’ve set out to do. But as Christians, we’re to live by a different standard: exalt Christ, obey His commands, and serve Him faithfully by doing His will, not our own.
We’re not called to gain fame and fortune by leaving our footprints in concrete for all to admire. Our task is to humbly follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Whether our lives have a large or small impact is up to God, not us. The greatest acts of service are not usually flashy displays; more often they’re commonplace gestures like being kind to strangers, ministering to fellow believers, and praying for others.
Jesus humbled Himself, surrendered His rights, and obeyed God even to the point of death on the cross (Phil. 2:5-8). Being His servant begins with the same attitude. It requires helping others when it’s not convenient, doing tasks that are not glamorous, and obeying the Lord even if it’s costly. We aren’t on earth to build our own kingdom but to faithfully serve God as He builds His.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”—1 John 1:9
Once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, God’s Holy Spirit lives in you. Through Him, God enables you to do everything He asks, making the possibilities for service limitless.
Have you been sitting on the sidelines because you have let sin and shame discourage you? Perhaps you feel as though God can’t use your broken vessel.
Don’t let your feelings overshadow the truth! God is big enough to forgive you, restore you, and use you to restore others. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Once you have confessed and turned from your sins, you are cleansed—but God does not purify you and empower you with His Spirit merely to make you feel good. God’s purification process fulfills the Scriptures and equips His children for service. The question is not, “Do I have the power?” It is, “How will I use that power?”
Waiting on God to fill our needs is not how it works. God has provided us with everything we need to serve and glorify Him. All we must do is step out in obedience with full reliance on His grace and power. Things might be difficult at times but rest assured it’s for our own growth and benefit.
According to Ephesians 2:10, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Everything about us has been designed by God to equip us for the work He preordained long before our birth.
The next time you pray, instead of asking God for something in your life, why not turn things around and ask God if there is anything He would have you do for him. Wow! What a great concept.