Being a servant is not attractive in our culture. But the Bible says that as Christians we are called to serve God with our lives.
In Philippians, the Bible says:
“Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,” (ESV, Philippians 1:1a)
Paul and Timothy identified themselves as servants of God. God calls us to stop putting our identity in ourselves, how good and amazing we are, or the things we have achieved and start putting it in Him. Only then, in relation to Him, we can truly know who we are.
In the Bible times, when a slave was sold at the market, the buyer automatically became his master. This is an imagery of how Jesus bought us from the slavery of sin by paying for us on the cross. But Jesus lets us off the hook and says that we are free. But it’s our gratefulness for what He has done for us that compels us to serve Him for the rest of our life. That’s the kind of servanthood we are called to. And this is a very fulfilling way to live.
The Bible says:
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (NIV, Matthew 16:25).
While it could refer to people literary dying for Jesus and gaining eternal life, there could be also another interpretation of this verse.
I think what Jesus is saying is that we can never have abundant and fulfilled life if we make it all about ourselves and how good we feel and how much we have. Ultimately, those things are not fulfilling.
But when we lose ourselves in service to others, that’s when we really experience that our life matters and we gain that sense of fulfillment.
In Romans, the Bible says:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship” (NIV, Romans 12:1).
That means that God gives us this life so that we can serve Him. So that we can lose ourselves in service to Him and truly live out our calling.
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for us. He died instead of us. So now we are called to be living sacrifices, living offerings to Him with our lives. That’s how we worship Him.
So how can we apply this to our daily lives?
We serve God by serving other people. This could look like serving your family selflessly, no matter whether they appreciate your work, but if we are serving Jesus, then it does not really matter whether people even notice the things we do for them, since we find our true fulfillment in serving Christ.
Or it could look like serving at a work place or church or community. But it’s the motivation that matters.
The Bible says:
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (NLT, Colossians 3:23).
God wants us to do everything as if we are doing it for Him. He wants us to keep Him in mind when we are serving or working for others. He does not want us to put our fulfillment in how much we get praised or appreciated for our work (preaching to myself here) but rather to put our ultimate fulfillment in knowing that we are serving our Lord. Not out of obligation, but out of gratefulness for what He has done for us.
Being a servant of God also means being humble. For example, in my online ministry, ForHisJoy, it can be so easy to think for me that I am da boss here and I can do whatever I want! But the truth is that I am a servant of Christ Jesus. This is not my ministry, this is His ministry. And I have to ask Him what to do and only do things the way He asks me to do them and seek Him on everything.
Being a servant of Christ is not just doing everything as our service to Him, but it’s also realizing that we are not our own and that our lives actually do not belong to us.
We were enslaved by sin, and now we are set free by Jesus. But because of His great sacrifice we should be compelled to serve Him for the rest of our lives.
The Bible says:
“For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (NASB, 1 Corinthians 6:20).
What that means is that whatever we do we should seek God’s will on. We should seek His leading on the type and kind of service He wants us to do. We should seek Him on the type of service He has created us to do.
And the beauty of it is that we were wired to do what God wants us to do. When we discover our calling, the purpose for which God has created us, we discover the most fulfilling way to live life!
So while being a living sacrifice can mean self-denial in some things, like being selfless and sharing our resources with others or doing things free of charge, ultimately, those things will not only be rewarded in Heaven but they will also bring us lasting fulfillment.
To be a servant of Jesus Christ is to live a life that God has called us to live.