March 2017

“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1–2 (ESV)

We began our journey considering the opening about how we want to be regarded. In February we asked, what does it mean to be “servants of Christ”? “What is a servant?” This month I would like to reflect on the very important issue, whose servants are we? “Servants of Christ”  is how the Apostle Paul identifies himself and us. Here is the most important principle in  all our faith, “Jesus Christ is Lord.” Romans 10:9 (ESV) “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Or Acts 4:11–12 (ESV) “11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Again Acts 2:36 (ESV) “36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

In the age in which we live, we have lost the importance of the centrality of Christ. We get caught up in rules, rituals and rightness. We elevate doing over being and fall into the trap of the Pharisees. Consider Paul’s description in 2 Corinthians 5:17–18 (ESV) 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; It is because He is in us and we are in Him that our new life begins. If you recall we have talked about the three aspects of our calling in Christ: identity, capacity and destiny. Identity goes to the heart of this truth, we are children of God because Christ is in us. The most important identifying characteristic of a Christian is that they are a child of God, because Christ dwells in them. Everything they want, everything they do flows from this identity. I do not love my enemy because it pleases God (which it does) but I love because Christ in me compels me to love.

I am His new creation, my old self has passed away and therefore I am new. My new self then begins to lead the life of of Christ which flows from my innermost parts. When Christ is enthroned in the center of my heart and life then the fruit of the Spirit becomes real. Galatians 5:22–24 (ESV) “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” We cannot manufacture this in our own strength. I cannot produce this love, joy, peace, etc. in my own strength, it must be Christ in me. My old nature (called the flesh) will always rebel and resist. But Christ in me makes it possible.

Here is Paul’s summary, Philippians 3:7–11 (ESV) But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

So if I am going to be a “servant of Christ” I must know Him at the center of my being, allowing Him complete freedom to direct my life, my desires, my attitudes, my words and my actions as He sees fit. Service in any other context will ultimately fail, because I will get tired of doing life Christ’s way. Listen to Galatians 2:16 (ESV) 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. We can serve Christ only because He dwells in us completely. All that we do (in service) is the outflow of His presence within us.

Thank you Jesus, for making service possible for me.