Serving In The Spirit

Serving the Lord is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is a reflection of the love and the gratitude we feel toward Jesus. And it is also an act of obedience to God's will. We must serve our Lord and Master.

It is very exciting for a new Christian to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. But the excitement does not end there! When he turns his will over to God and lets God mold him, he discovers what God has in mind for his life. That is when the real excitement begins!

Christians experience the Holy Spirit as a glimpse of God's personality. A new Christian experiences the Holy Spirit in a comparatively limited fashion. He experiences God's personality in relation to himself only.

But as we grow and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us closer to God's will, we experience the Holy Spirit on a much grander scale. We experience God's personality in relation to all Christians: the entire body of Christ!

Read Ephesians 4:1-16. It is sometimes a perplexing process trying to find a place of service in the body of Christ. Some people will do, in general, whatever they are asked to do (like people who have the gift of helping, or serving). But some people have to be given tasks that very specifically match some intention that God has for them. And they may not know how to recognize (or what to do with) the gift(s) the Holy Spirit has given them.

If Christians were more open to the Holy Spirit and expressing Christ's love, people would find it easier to serve the Lord. We would not worry if we might make a mistake and be criticized. People would support each other with their love and prayers, and with their advice and training. We would make fewer mistakes. And when we did make mistakes, we would simply learn from them and go on.

This is pretty traditional thinking. We are used to the idea that a few people may support us. But we are not used to the idea that the congregation, as a whole, is available for support (other than, perhaps, for prayer requests).

Through Christ, the whole body "grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." People with different gifts must cooperate with each other, so the body can be "joined and held together by every supporting ligament." People with similar gifts must cooperate with each other, to train and encourage each other.

As our congregation becomes more loving and more unified, many things will happen. Those who are unsure of their place in the body of Christ will see other people's faith in action. They will see the examples that they need. They will get a better picture of how all the functions of the body of Christ fit and work together. Those who are unsure will be attracted (through the Holy Spirit) to the people who can give them the advice, training, and/or support that they need. And our community will see the love we Christians have for each other and will be attracted to our fellowship by that love. (Acts 2:42-47)

A person walking a tight rope will often extend both arms to balance himself. He almost looks like he is reaching out into the air for a hand to support him. During our icy winter, I have seen people crossing parking lots in unison. Two or three people may join hands to balance and support each other. That sounds like Christians praying together, to get support from their Heavenly Father and balance from the other members of the body of Christ. (Matthew 18:19-20)

Our path to unity, peace, faith, and maturity does not have to be icy and treacherous. We must look to the Bible and to prayer for balance and support.

I quote Ephesians 3:14-21.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

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