Steps to Christ, Pt. 8: The Work and the Life

WOW!  Yet again, another amazing chapter.  Here we move from “we are saved by grace through faith” to “faith without works is dead.” The focus of this chapter is simply that when Jesus is living in you, there is nothing that you will desire more than to serve others with an unselfish love!  This is so powerful!  Why?  Because I believe that if you were honest with yourself, you would agree that your greatest moments of happiness and sense of fulfillment came at a moment when you were serving someone else.  It may have been a mission trip or helping someone who was in need in your own neighborhood.  When we act selflessly, we are living the life that Jesus not only modeled for us, but called us to live.

Our Saviour’s joy was in the uplifting and redemption of fallen men.  For this he counted not his life dear unto himself, but endured the cross, despising the shame.  So angels are ever engaged in working for the happiness of others.  This is their joy.  That which selfish hearts would regard as humiliating service, ministering to those who are wretched, and in every way inferior in character and rank, is the work of the sinless angels.  The spirit of Christ’s self-sacrificing love is the spirit that pervades heaven, and is the very essence of its bliss.  This is the spirit that Christ’s followers will possess, the work that they will do.

 

As we put our faith, hope and trust into Jesus, He will live in us.  All we need to do is simply allow Him to come in (Revelation 3:20).  As He does so, He will start living out His “self-sacrificing love” in and through our lives.

The Saviour’s life on earth was not a life of ease and devotion to himself, but he toiled with persistent, earnest, untiring effort for the salvation of lost mankind.  From the manger to Calvary he followed the path of self-denial, and sought not to be released from arduous tasks, painful travels, and exhausting care and labor.  He said, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).  This was the one great object of his life.  Everything else was secondary and subservient.  It was his meat and drink to do the will of God and to finish his work.  Self and self-interest had no part in his labor.

 

I can honestly attest that the greatest joy in my life is ministering to others on behalf of Jesus!  On the contrary, I will tell you that when I am not ministering to others or focused on serving other people but focused on myself, I am often miserable, depressed, and unmotivated.  Can I get a witness?

No sooner does one come to Christ, than there is born in his heart a desire to make known to others what a precious friend he has found in Jesus; the saving and sanctifying truth cannot be shut up in his heart.  If we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and are filled with the joy of his indwelling Spirit, we shall not be able to hold our peace.  If we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, we shall have something to tell.

 

Is this your experience?  It certainly is mine.  When I first met Jesus, I couldn’t stop talking about Him.  And guess what?  I haven’t stopped.  Sometimes when I will study the Bible and something will really leap of the page, I just have to tell someone about it.  I remember on a couple of occasions going into a restaurant after a Bible study and telling the cashier everything that I had just studied.  This is what I would liken to the living water that is spoken of in John 4.  The woman at the well went back into her town and said, “Come meet a Man!” When you’ve met Jesus, you can’t help but tell other people about Him.

And the effort to bless others will re-act in blessings upon ourselves.  This was the purpose of God in giving us a part to act in the plan of redemption.  He has granted men the privilege of becoming partakers of the divine nature, and, in their turn, of diffusing blessings to their fellowmen.  This is the highest honor, the greatest joy, that it is possible for God to bestow upon men.  Those who thus become participants in labors of love are brought nearest to their Creator.

 

Can you imagine for a moment that you are God?  Would you ever in a million years choose someone like you to represent perfect Majesty, Dominion, Holiness, Glory, Love, Power, etc?  Maybe you are shacking your head yes, but for me, if I were God, there is no way that I would ever choose someone like myself to represent me.  We must remember that God’s ways are not our ways.  His thoughts are not our thoughts.  Simply put, the way I/we roll is not the way that God rolls.  He chooses people like you and me, broken, sinful, selfish people to represent Him.  Why?  Because it reveals to the world what our God is really like.  His divine character/nature sees in you a pearl of infinite value and invites you to partner with Him in the plan of salvation!  WHAT A MIGHTY GOD WE SERVE!

Here’s where Ellen flips the script,

Those who endeavor to maintain Christian life by passively accepting the blessings that come through the means of grace, and doing nothing for Christ, are simply trying to live by eating without working.  And in the spiritual as in the natural world, this always results in degeneration and decay.  A man who would refuse to exercise his limbs would soon lose all power to use them.  Thus the Christian who will not exercise his God-given powers, not only fails to grow up into Christ, but he loses the strength that he already had.

 

I reiterate again, that faith without works is dead (James 2:20).  If you are finding yourself frustrated in Jesus, the church, your christian experience, before you give up on it all, try taking a step of faith and serving someone else in the name of Jesus.  I will promise you that it will be the greatest experience of your life.  Go on a mission trip, volunteer at a local soup kitchen, help an elderly person with yard work, go visit folks in a retirement home or prison.  Put your faith into practice.

The humblest and poorest of the disciples of Jesus can be a blessing to others.  They may not realize that they are doing any special good, but by their unconscious influence they may start waves of blessing that will widen and deepen, and the blessed results they may never know until the day of final reward.  They do not feel or know that they are doing anything great.  They are not required to weary themselves with anxiety about success.  They have only to go forward quietly, doing faithfully the work that God’s providence assigns, and their life will not be in vain.  Their own souls will be growing more and more into the likeness of Christ; they are workers together with God in this life, and are thus fitting for the higher work and the unshadowed joy of the life to come.

 

My friend, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, what you do.  We are all called by God to serve in His name!  Choose this day who you will serve.  As for me and my household, I will serve the Lord!

Blessings and courage!

Matthew

Posted on by Matthew Gamble in Articles
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About Matthew Gamble

Communicator, Consultant, Coach. Founder of a non-profit VagaBondservant Int'l that takes me all over the world exploring the life and teachings of Jesus.

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