“And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His[d]name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” Acts 5:40-42
Serving God isn’t about where we want to go and what we want to do when we want to do it. It’s about going where God wants us to go and doing what God wants us to do when He wants us to do it. Not for us. For Him. For His glory.
I heard a pastor once say the Lord had told him to start a church anywhere in the country he wanted to go. I can’t speak for that pastor, nor for the Lord, but I can’t recall anywhere in the New Testament where the Lord tells His followers to pick and choose wherever they’d like to go and whatever they’d like to do whenever they’d like to serve Him. For themselves. Not for Him.
Serving the Lord is NOT about us. It’s about HIM! It’s about believing in Christ as LORD, following Christ as LORD, living according to the LORD’s ways according to the LORD’s Word, being baptized with the LORD’s Spirit, being filled with the LORD’s love and power by His Spirit, being led by the LORD’s Spirit, and living and loving THE LORD for the LORD’s glory.
But where is the joy in this? Where is the reward? Where is the satisfaction? Won’t we suffer immensely when we live to love and serve Him on His terms? We will indeed suffer in the sense our flesh in our selfish sinfulness wants its own way, not God’s, but when we in our love and reverence for the Lord choose to deny our selfish ways and to serve Him instead, the joy is unimaginable and the reward is not just what the Lord promises His followers in the way of crowns and rewards when we’re in heaven. There is this reward right now! The reward of bringing Him pleasure and joy, of making Him happy, of making Him proud of us as His children, of becoming ever closer to Him, of knowing when we devotedly follow Him including in our service to Him that we are forever and ever our glorious Lord’s!
Have you ever studied the book of Acts in the Bible, which reveals to us the history of the so-called early church, when Christ’s disciples diligently and faithfully were baptized in His Holy Spirit and led by His Holy Spirit in serving Him by helping to build His forever Kingdom? Their passion, excitement, joy, exceeding commitment, this all seems to jump off the very pages of the Bible! Even as they suffered, they found great joy – and contentment – in the Lord! They in their thankfulness for His salvation, and their extreme love for Him, and given the amazingness of His Spirit filling them, could not help but dedicate themselves utterly to His service.
How about you? Are you Christ’s follower? Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit? Filled with His power from on high? Is your life yielded to Him? Are you loving and serving Him on your terms – or the LORD’s?
Perhaps you have been resisting the Spirit of God as He leads you in where and what and when He wants you to serve Him. I encourage you to deny yourself and say yes to the Lord. Not for your sake. For His. I believe you will be blessed immeasurably when you submit yourself utterly to the Father!