Number 34 January19, 2003
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
By Jack Northart
One of the greatest activating principles in the world in life is the principle of service. It is more powerful than that of financial rewards.
Every person has the God-given right to make decisions. This is called freedom of will. This means that every person is responsible for his or her own conduct and behavior in life. When a person decides to accept Jesus as lord in his life and believe that God raised him from the dead, he is deciding to accept the conditions set forth by God to gain eternal life and become a Christian. Once a person accepts Christ, then it is still up to him to decide whether or not he will commit himself in service to God.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
To the extent that a person willfully determines to make God's will his will, he will become that living sacrifice that is mentioned in this verse. Furthermore, this verse says that this is our "reasonable" service. The Amplified Bible translates this as "…your rational, intelligent service." Once we become Christians, this should be our logical choice in life because of all that God has done for us in Christ Jesus. This is a day by day choice that all Christians must make. We are either presenting ourselves as "living sacrifices," or we are not.
All service requires sacrifice. People who hear the call of God more clearly are most likely to easily justify the sacrifice they have to make in following it. For a person to hear the call of God clearly enough, yet decide not to sacrifice himself for his own ease and comfort, is denying who he is, and forgetting who paid for his life.
II Corinthians 5:15
And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
Self-sacrifice, which is the giving of oneself completely, is the passion of great men - most vividly exemplified in Jesus Christ. Self-sacrifice must be part of our everyday life as Christians. The duty of service includes the responsibility of sacrifice because that service which costs us nothing is valueless. Nothing comes in life without a price. Mankind can have nothing for which someone is not prepared to pay the price. And sacrifice demands that someone have great commitment.
The committed servants, those who had sold themselves out to serving a master, are called a doulos in the Bible. Doulos is the Greek word that is translated bondman once, and servant 120 times in the New Testament. A bondman or doulos, was one that would commit his life to his master, and as a result the master would take care of all of the bondman's as well as his family's needs. Food, shelter and clothing were provided by the master.
Exodus 21: 5,6
And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children, I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.
For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another Come, and he cometh; and to my servant [doulos], Do this, and he doeth it.
In our day and time, a doulos would be someone who would totally and completely carry out what is stated in Romans 12:1, "…present your bodies a living sacrifice." That person would be an entrusted servant, a bond slave for the Lord Jesus Christ, living a life of service and commitment, producing the greatest attainable freedom. This is a such a wonderful paradox!
The renewing of our minds as mentioned in verse 2 of Romans 12, is something that all of us should endeavor to do as Christians as we change our thinking to the thoughts and ways of God's Word. However, verse 2 is tied to verse 1. Presenting our bodies as living sacrifices does not mean we go lie on the altar and die for God. To the contrary, we are to be LIVING sacrifices, being transformed by the renewing of our minds.
And as we carry out this call to service, the end result is far reaching as stated in the later part of verse 2 in Romans 12.
…that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The greatest act of service is to renew one's mind to the Word of God and carry out that Word, in spite of other's ingratitude. To bow to the will and desires of the world is the greatest act of selfishness in life. People will always fear selfishness in another person, but never fear it in themselves.
God's service must be carried out with God's love. The love of God must rule all actions.
I John 3:16
Hereby perceive we the love [Greek, agape] of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
In this was manifested the love [agape] of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
Living in this world, we have to take this world as we find it and resolutely endeavor to act as virtuously as possible in every situation. We must endeavor to serve in love as often as possible.
II Timothy 2:24,25
And the servant [doulos] of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.
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