I bursted into tears, laying on the floor, praying that God would open the eyes of our hearts.
I just got off the phone with an elderly lady who was, like me, brought up in a legalistic church. “I have done so much for the Lord” she said. “I’ve served Him in many committees and with a lot of volunteering work for the church.”
She continued, “I’ve been busy but I wonder and realize now that I did it all the time with the attitude of working for God and serving Him and I see that it’s all in vain if you don’t know Him.”
I cried uncontrollably after I hung up. Sadness overwhelmed me as I saw another precious life being “wasted” due to dead religious works.
At the root of many dead religious works lies the idea that the Christian life revolves around what we do for Christ, that we are called to serve God. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There’s a lot of focus on “serving” in the modern state of Christendom.
So a lot of religious statements start with “God did this for you…now you should do this for Him,” and “God wants you to serve Him.”
And the all time, most self-absorbed, narcissistic one of all “God needs you to serve Him.” Making you think that God needs you to do stuff for Him because He isn’t powerful or capable enough to do anything on His own.
These types of lies reduce God down to a Toddler who can’t fend for Himself! But it’s not why you are saved. You aren’t saved so that you could simply “do stuff” for God. No way!
God doesn’t call you to serve Him.
In fact, He’s never asked you to do anything for Him. Why? My friend, God does NOT need you – He doesn’t need you to serve Him…He created time…the universe…the earth…the oceans…all the animals…EVERYTHING.
Kind of like the old saying around Christmas time…“what do you get a guy who already has everything?” It’s even worse with God.
As Paul said in Acts 17:25:
And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
Did you catch that? God is not served by human hands!
So the truth is…God does not need you to serve Him!
God is MORE than a big boy…more than capable…He is all powerful, the Creator of all, the initiator of all, and He created all things to enjoy them in love.
Growing up under a steady diet of legalistic teaching you quickly come to believe that the Christian life does revolve around what we do for God. The truth, however, is that the Christian life is not about what you do for Christ.
Your life is not about your service to Him. It’s all about what He has done for you!
Just like you did not come to salvation by anything you did – you only received salvation by what Christ did for you.
Watch the Vlog by clicking on the image below:
The Purpose Of Your Salvation
“So if I’m not saved to serve God why am I saved then?”
The purpose of your salvation isn’t so you can “work for God.” You know why you are saved?
You were saved so that you can know God and Christ…and enjoy a relationship of love and intimacy with them both.
Christ Himself said in John 17:3:
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Christ Himself said the purpose of your salvation was to know Him and to know the Father (God), not to “serve Him.”
Since we are not saved to serve God, do we then not serve Him? Yes we do. But our serving is from an overflow of our love relationship with Him, but not because it’s our responsibility.
Our Christian service is a gift from Gods to us.
The great responsibility, the great privilege we have is not to serve Him, but that we can know Him. If you don’t see it this way, you’ll end up on a legalistic treadmill that you’ll never break free from, unless you embrace the truth.
The Bible says He saved you so you can know and enjoy Him. And service is just the supernatural overflow of the love relationship we already have with Him.
Consider this: If God IS love…how loving does it seem that He would create man just so they could run around and do errands for Him? No, we were created to be loved by the father and for us to know Him. He wants a relationship with us.
It’s like the relationship between a man and a woman.
A woman (unless there is some emotional damage) does not want a man who needs her…who can’t function without her…who needs her to somehow bring him happiness and completeness. In other words, he only wants a relationship with her because he wants something from her.
Instead she wants a powerful, loving man who could have any woman he chooses…but…he wants and chooses her. Not so she can give him anything. Not because he’s incomplete without her…but because he wants a relationship with her.
He wants to love her. He wants to lavish his gifts on her. He doesn’t need any service from her – just the reactionary love flowing back to him that is sure to come when a person sees how much they are loved unconditionally.
This is how God is with His people and that’s why you are called the bridegroom of Christ and friend of God.
So the idea that the reason you are saved is “so you can serve God” is just false.
The truth is…God allows us to serve Him – it’s His gift to us.
Your service to God should be an overflowing of the knowledge you have in Jesus. The knowledge you have of God’s overly abundant Love, Mercy, Grace, and Goodness in your life.
All gifts are given to you by your heavenly Father. And He also gives you the gift of service – you don’t “have to” serve God – you “get to” serve God and enjoy an intimate, loving, and awesome relationship with Him.
This lie that you were “saved for service” will keep you on the religious treadmill of activity.
You weren’t saved to serve…you were saved to enjoy and intimate relationship with your Father.
You Participate With God
If you get in touch with your emotions when you hear any religious teaching, you are be able to tell that it makes you feel like a slave, right? Listen to this religious crap to see whether it makes you feel like a slave or a son:
- “Your life is God’s gift to you. What you do with your life is your gift to God.”
- “God wants you to serve Him.”
- “Jesus died for you, what will you do for Him?”
- “Your Christian life revolves around what you do for God.”
- “You are saved to serve God.”
- “You should lay down your life to serve God.”
- “Jesus did so much for you, what have you done for Him?”
Believing these lies definitely makes you feel like a slave. And Jesus says we are no longer slaves, but sons.
You were saved to enjoy son-ship, not to suffer slave-ship.
Since you are a son who is under grace you are not obliged to work for God. If you do believe that the Christian life revolves around what you do for God you will feel like you are obligated to do something for God. Obligated to “work for Him.”
The Bible, however, says the work is the work of the Lord and not your work for Him.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Cor. 15:58, ESV)
The work is the work of the Lord. God is really the one at work doing everything. It is God who does the work.
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. (Ps. 127:1)
It is Him who is at work in you both to will and to do his good pleasure. (Phil. 2:13)
Thus, the work is the work of God the Father and we simply participate in it.
We don’t work for Him, we join together with Him and what He is doing in this world and as participants, living in union with Him through Jesus Christ, the work that we do, the service that we perform, it is the work of God operating in the world through us.
So then “How should you approach the idea of “serving God” as a Christian?”
Let’s look to Ephesians 2:7-10 for the answer:
Now God has us where He wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. (MSG)
We participate in the work with God. As Paul says we are “co-laborers”. Our participation in work with God is a gift to us from Him. We aren’t “required” to do anything for Him, we aren’t supposed to “do something for God.”
There is no requirement like that from God to His children. He loves you unconditionally no matter what you do…or DON’T do. This is the meaning of “unconditional” – God’s attitude doesn’t depend on anything you do.
God Has No Expections Of You
God is not expecting you to do something for Him!
He isn’t asking you to serve Him. Rather, He’s convincing you Christ did not come to be served, but to serve.
Thus, God wants you to stop serving Him and allow Him to serve you!
If you have a hard time believing this then read Mark 10:45;
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.
Jesus says He didn’t come to be served. Since He is complete in Himself, He needs nobody to serve Him. He needs no helpers. God isn’t demanding your service for He doesn’t want to be served but came to serve.
Consequently, God is only honored when you allow Him to serve you. At the flipside if you believe you are saved to serve God you dishonor Him.
Simply put, don’t serve God, He serves you! With this mindset He will be portrayed as a self-sufficient Being and not as needy Being where our buckets of effort are poured into.
Here are at least 3 reasons why this idea that “you should serve God” or “should work for God” is demonic, toxic, and hurtful:
- This is a condemning lie that makes you feel like you’re never doing enough. It will keep you on the religious treadmill of activity after activity after activity…until you burn out.
- God is not dependent on you and me do anything! If God is expecting you to “do something for Him” you would be constantly examining yourself to see if you measure up, to see if you do enough. One thing legalism will never say: “good job, you’ve done enough.” No, it will constantly leave you with a sense of restlessness, because you are not measuring up to what you ought to be.
- And the worse part is you’ll be so focused on “the work you’re doing for God” that you’ll totally forget to have a relationship with Him and grow in love and intimacy in that relationship.
So is it OK to do anything for God? Of course! But it shouldn’t feel like a responsibility. It shouldn’t feel burdensome.
All your work “for God” should come from a place of feeling like there’s so much love and amazingness in your relationship with God first – that you can’t possibly keep it in and want to do “work” for God. Even though, you’re just really stepping into the work He has already done and participating in the process with Him.
To Sum Up
There is nothing you can do for God that He needs you to do. Your Christian service is simply His gift to you in which He allows you to participate with Him and what He is doing in this world.
You are not saved to serve God nor to work for Him! The truth is that God does the work, He does everything He needs, but He loves us enough to invite us to participate in what He is doing in this world.
So don’t believe this lie that you are supposed to work for God anymore. It’s not true and will only leave you feeling like you’re never doing enough anyways.
Your Christian life is not what you are doing for Christ.
Your life is about resting in Christ and living out of the union you have with Him…and allowing Him to do anything He wants to do in us and then through us.
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