Spirit-empowered Service

“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12).

When we enter the service of the Lord, we discover a twofold truth: God works, but we do, too.

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).

God works, but so do we. We work because God works within us. God does not perform the service; we do. But we do it in His strength and for His glory. Let’s summarize the ideal approach:

1. We serve in God’s strength.
When we enlist in God’s service, we may be full of zeal and good intentions. But we need to remember who gives us strength to serve. Otherwise we will grow weary and seek a way out. Paul spells it out in this verse:

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

When we serve in our own strength, we will follow our own desires and serve for our own reasons. The outcome will not prove fruitful.

2. We serve Him with godly motives.
People serve longest who serve with passion. God places this passion within us as we submit to His marvelous plan for our lives. When we take our eyes off of God, we soon set them on others. People will fail us, but God proves faithful time after time. When we put our eyes on Jesus, He strengthens our hearts and guides our motives. When we serve with a desire to further God’s glory, He blesses our hearts and blesses others.

When you feel weak and lacking in strength, ask God to strengthen and empower you. Ask Him to purify your motives, as an improperly placed motive will drain us of energy for God. Keep your service before God in prayer, and then look up. Your labor for Him will not go unrewarded and His joy will fill your heart.

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