Day 33 – How a real servant should act

How a real servant should act

In our world today greatness is defined in terms of power, possession, prestige and position; yet being a servant is not a very popular concept of greatness. Jesus however, measured greatness by how many people we serve, and in order for us to be like Him (which is one of the main reason why we were created), we need to be servants, and only through having a servant heart can we implement our shape by being able to find and use our shape for the glory of God. Therefore, since our primary role is in the area we’ve been shaped for, our secondary purpose is to serve where an immediate need is required, as it is possible to serve but not have a servant heart [Matt. 7 vs. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?]

Consequently, as servants of God we need:

To make ourselves available to do what’s needed even when it’s inconvenient [2 Tim. 2 vs. 4 – No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer]; and to give God the right to control our schedule and interrupt it whenever He needs to.

Also to pay attention to need, to always be on the look out for ways to help others [Gal. 6 vs. 10 – Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers; Prov. 3 vs. 28 – Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow”—when you now have it with you]

Do our best with what we have, to never procrastinate or wait for better days [Ecc. 11 vs. 4 – Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap]; because God expects us to do the best with whatever we have;

To do every task with equal dedication, regardless of the size of the task [Col. 3 vs. 23 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men; Gal. 6 vs. 3 – If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself]. We have seen from Jesus’ example that He specialized in menial task that every one tried to avoid, because nothing was beneath Him as He came to serve, and for this reason He expects us to follow [John 13 vs. 15 – I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you; Acts 28 vs. 3; Luke 16 vs. 10 – 11];

To be faithful in what God has given us to do, in our ministry. This is because as servants we need to be known to finish our tasks and fulfill our commitments. Not to leave a Job half undone, or quit when discouraged. As we are expected to be trustworthy and dependable [Psalm 12 vs.1; Prov. 20 vs. 6 – Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?; Philippians 2 vs. 19 – 22].

Finally to maintain a low profile [1 Pet. 5 vs. 5 – Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,”God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”]; Not to turn helping others into a performance [Eph. 6 vs. 6 – Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart; Col. 3 vs. 22; Matt. 6 vs.1]; as real servants don’t serve for the approval or applause of others [Gal. 1 vs. 10 – Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ]; And to remember that whenever we find ourselves serving God, He has placed us there for a purpose [Col. 3 vs. 4]; so though we might feel that we are serving in obscurity, our service matters in God’s kingdom as the most significant service is often the service that is unseen [1 Corinth. 12 vs. 22 – 24; 1 Corinth. 15 vs. 58; Matt. 10 vs. 42] .

Day 32 – Using What God gave me

Day 32 – Using What God gave me

Since God has taken the time to form me and endowed me with gifts to do His work. I am expected to make the most of what He has given me, not to covet the abilities of others or try to be someone else, but instead to focus on my gifts. To serve God out of my SHAPE [Eph. 5 vs. 17- Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is]. To resolve to stay focused on finding out what god wants me to do for Him.

To enable me to do this I am required to examine myself:

Need to asses my gifts and abilities [Rom. 12 vs. 8 – if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully]. To do this, I can make a list of all the things I know / think I have the ability to do. Can also ask others for their honest opinions not their compliment. This is because spiritual gifts and abilities are always confirmed by others. Imagine for example, if someone thinks that they are born to be a leader, a simple test to find out if this is true, will be to look over their shoulder and find out if anyone is following them – if not one – duh – its doesn’t take a genius to tell them they are not. We need to experiment with different areas of service, because only when we are involved in serving will we be able to find out what we are good at.

Need to consider my heart (i.e. passion) and my personality [Gal. 6 vs. 4]. Under this form of assessment I need to find out what it is I enjoy doing. For example, do I like routine or variety; or do I prefer to work in a team or by myself. Am I introverted or extroverted. Am I a thinker or a feeler? Do I enjoy competing or cooperating?

I also Need to examine my experiences and extract lessons from them. I have learned through the book of Deuteronomy 18 vs. 2 – They shall have no inheritance among their brothers; the LORD is their inheritance, as he promised them; that forgotten experiences are worthless [Gal. 3vs. 4]. Only in hindsight will I be able to understand God’s intended purpose for the experiences that I have gone through [John 13 vs. 7].

So since God knows what’s best for me, I need only accept His decisions [Rom. 9 vs. 20 – 21 – But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this”? Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use]. Not to resent or reject the gifts He has given me, or how He has created me. So instead of trying to be someone else I’m not, I need to celebrate my “shape” [Eph. 4 vs. 7 – But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it]; and recognise my limitations. As I am not created to be good at everything [Gal. 2 vs. 7 – 8; 2 Corith.10 vs. 13]. To stay focused on the race God has given me to run [Heb. 12 vs. 1; Gal 6 vs. 4]; and not to compare myself with others, as this will affect my walk [2 Corinth. 10 vs. 12];

Lessons learnt on day 32

God expects me to make the most of what He has given us. To cultivate my gifts and abilities, to keep my heart aflame, to grow my character and personality and broaden my experiences, so that I am able to increasingly become more effective in my service to Him [Philip. 1 vs. 9; 2Tim 1 vs. 6]. To use my talents or run the risk of loosing them [Matt. 25 vs. 28; 1 Tim. 4 vs. 14–15; 2 Tim. 2 vs.15; 1 Corith.9 vs.25]. To practice to do our best.

Day 31 – Understanding my SHAPE, understanding me

Understanding my SHAPE, understanding me

Today’s lesson continues from yesterday.

I have found that since I have been uniquely made, no other person God created could play the role the Lord created me for, so if I don’t play the unique role He has created me for in the body of Christ, no other person will [a truth that must be at the back of our minds constantly] – [1 Corinth. 12 vs. 4 – 6 – There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.].I also understood that God equipped me with Spiritual gifts and a Heart (passion) as part of the capabilities used in serving Him.

In today’s lesson the rest of the capabilities will be looked at: Ability, Personality and Experience.

I found that my abilities are the natural talents that I have been born with, such as my natural athletic abilities and excelling in physical co-ordination. For others their capabilities include solving problems mathematically or mechanics. Still others include artistic capabilities, all abilities that come from God given to us to be used in serving Him [Ex. 31 vs. 3-5 – ; Rom. 12 vs. 6- We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith]. The only difference between these and the previously mentioned capabilities is that it is given to us at birth; and our ability if used properly (i.e. not misused) can be used for the glory of God – [1 Corinth. 10 vs. 31 – So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God; 1 Corinth. 12 vs. 6].

With this in mind we need to find where we can use our speciality to shine, to be used for the glory of God [Even in making money through business Deut. 8 vs. 18 – But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today; Deut. 14 vs. 23; Malachi 3 vs. 8 – 11 ]; since He has already equipped us with our abilities for His purpose – [Heb. 13 vs. 21]. With this in mind, in order to discover God’s will for my life I therefore need to seriously examine what am good at doing and what I’m not good at, since He will never ask me to dedicate my life to a task I have no talent for. Subsequently, the talent I do have are strong indications of what God wants me to do with my life, which are clues of knowing God’s will for my life. I know for example that I am good at drawing or organising, I guess it safe to assume that God’s plan includes these skills, because He doesn’t waste abilities [1 Pet. 4 vs. 10].

The Next capability I looked at was Personality. I found that since we are as individual as our DNA, a variety of people with different combination of personalities – [1 Corinth. 12 vs. 6]; we will sometimes have interpersonal conflicts. This is why our personality affects how and where we use our gifts; and why mimicking others will not work for each of us, however, we can learn from their examples, but need to filter what we learn through our own capability.

Finally our Experience is also a vital capability, as; most of our experiences which have been beyond our control have shaped us in one way or another – [Rom. 8 vs. 28 – 29 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.]. So in determining our SHAPE for serving God we need to examine: Family experiences (what we learned growing up); Educational experiences (our Favourite subject in school); Vocational experiences (what jobs have we been most affected in and enjoyed); Spiritual experiences (what have been our most meaningful times with God); Ministry experience (how have we served God in the past); and finally Painful experiences (what problems, hurts, thorns and trials have we learned from?).

Examining our painful experiences to a great extent, is important, as God uses these experiences the most to prepare us for ministry, since He never wastes a hurt [When we think about it, who can better minister to someone battling with lust except for someone who fought that demon and found freedom]. So God intentionally allows us to go through painful experiences to equip us for our ministry to others – [2 Corinth. 1 vs. 4 – who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God].

In summary – If I really desire to be used by God I must understand that the very experiences that I have resented or regretted most in life – the ones I’ve always wanted to hide and forget are the experiences God wants me to use to help others – [2 Corinth. 1 vs. 8 – 10]. So I ask you, what will you do with what happened to you?

In concluding, I am told I will be most effective when I use my spiritual gifts and abilities in the area of my hearts desire, and in a way that best expresses my personality and experiences. As the better the fit, the more successful I will be.

Day 30 – I was shaped for serving God

I was shaped for serving God

Following from yesterday’s topic on our assignment, we all as God’s creation have been shaped with a particular area of expertise. And before we were created our intended function and how we are to serve God was already determined and planned by God – [Eph. 2 vs. 10]. Each of us have been custom designed a one-of a kind original master piece carefully formed with a unique way to serve God – [Psalm 139 vs. 13 – 14; 16For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be]. This is why nothing that happens in our life is insignificant, as God uses it all to shape us for our individual service to Him. No ability, experience, gifts interest are waste as God intended to use them all for His glory [An example here, could be my very post here on blogger where I was asking if I had taking the wrong route. I am now assured that I couldn’t possibly have because it was all part of my shaping process]. So only by identifying and understanding them can I discover God’s will for my life.

Whenever God gives us an assignment, he always equips us with what we need to accomplish them with. The list of capabilities include: Spiritual gifts, our Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experience.

We as believers each have spiritual gifts that God has given to us – [Rom. 12 vs. 4 – 8; 1 Corinth. 12; Eph. 4 vs. 8-15; 1 Corinth. 7 vs. 7I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that; 1 Corinth.2 vs. 14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned]. We did not earn these gifts [Eph. 4 vs. 7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it] neither did we choose them, God gave them according to how He shaped us – [1 Corith. 12 vs. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines; 1 Corith. 12 vs. 29 – 30].

And the gifts were given to us for the benefits of others, just as theirs are given for my benefit – [1 Corith. 12 vs. 7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good]. This is why it is important to discover our gifts so that others are not cheated. Also so that we are not dissatisfied with what God has given us and become resentful or jealous of how God uses others – 1 Corinth. 12 vs. 5 – There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. However our gifts are not the total picture of what God has given to us.

The other is our heart, which motivates our hope, interest, ambition, dreams and affections we have [Prov. 27 vs. 19 – As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man]. It our heart that reveals us, determines why we say the things we say and do, how we feel and act, and not what others think of us [Matt. 12 vs. 34; Prov. 4 vs. 23 – Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life]. This is why we are unique from each other. The nature of our heart is revealed through what we are passionate about, experiences or activities that turn us on and captures our attention, or circumstances that interest us – not to ignore our interests, but to consider how they might be used for God’s glory, because there is a reason why we love and have them in the first place. This reason being to used them to serve God with all our hearts, passionately and dutifully – [Deut. 11 vs. 13; 1 Sam. 12 vs. 20; Rom. 1 vs. 9; Eph. 6 vs. 6 – Obey them not only to win their favour when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart]. To use our natural interest to serve Him, as people rarely excel at tasks they don’t enjoy doing or feel passionate about.

Lessons learnt on Day 30

Not to settle for achieving the life others perceive as good, but for the better life for which God has given us gifts, interest, experience and circumstances to motivate and keep us focused on. Because there is a reason why we feel passionate about them and only through use of them can we express our heart, the heart God gave us to serve Him for His glory.