THE JOY OF SERVING GOD
Some may not understand how joyful it can be to serve the Lord. When I say I joy, I am not talking about mere happiness or laughter, but a way of life. When you have joy in your heart from being a faithful servant of God, it will give you stability in your life that produces peace and hope.
Joshua certainly understood how joyful it was to serve God. As he told the people of his day:
Joshua 24:15 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Joshua took great delight in serving God. Early on, he was
chosen to be the leader of the children of
David is another good example of a man who took great joy in serving God and especially worshipping Him. We can see this by his life and by the many praise songs he wrote in the Psalms. For example:
Psalm 21:1 The king shall have joy in Your strength, O LORD; And in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
Psalm 27:6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.
Psalm 32:11 †Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!†
Psalm 122:1 †I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the LORD."
These are just a few verses that express Davidís joy in serving God. Notice, he found joy in knowing the strength of God and the salvation that He offers. As Christian, we should be full of joy when we think about all that God has done for us in the past, what He is doing for us today, and what He will do for us in the future. Can you image how life would be if God was not in our lives, or if He had not offered us salvation? It would be a pretty miserable life wouldnít it?
When it came to David offering up sacrifices, he did not considered as a burden. Instead, he found joy in every opportunity he had to serve God. He understood that everything belonged to God anyway, and he was thankful for the many blessing God had given him.
Since David knew how great God blessings are, he told all the righteous to shout for joy.
As we read in Psalm 122:1, David loved it when it was time to worship God. We should have the same joy today. What can we be more thrilling or more important than going to the house of the Lord and worshiping our Creator? Our primary reason for coming together is to form the body of Christ to worship God and for mutual edification. Unfortunately, some Christians go to church for the social aspect of it. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying family and friends at church it should not be our main reason for going to church.
†While we do not offer animal sacrifices to God, the New Testament does talk about some sacrifices that we can make to God.
Hebrews 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.† 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. †
When we sing praises to God, do good to others, and share what we have with others it is considered a sacrifice that God is pleased with. We should have no problems as Christians making these kinds of sacrifices. In fact, it should bring us great joy to do what we can for the Lord.
We all know that Jesus is our best example of servitude. As Jesus said:
Matthew 20:28 The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,
Luke 4:8 †'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.' "
Jesus first priority was to serve the Father, which included serving others because it is the Fatherís will that we serve others. You certainly never read about Jesus complaining about what the Father asked Him to do nor do you see Him having a negative attitude about the opportunities He was given to glorify His Father in heaven. Instead, it was always a joy for Jesus to serve God and others.
If Jesus were like some of us today, He would tell His Father that He did not have time to heal the sick because He is too busy living life. Jesus gives a great description of what the Christian life is all about in:
Luke 17:7 "And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and sit down to eat'?† 8 "But will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink'?† 9 "Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.† 10 "So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.' "
Once we choose to become a Christian, we become the Lordís servants. As Paul tells us in:
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
We can either serve sin or serve God. If we choose sin, it will lead us to eternal condemnation. If we choose God, it will lead to eternal salvation. The choice is up to us. notice what else Paul e says in the next two verses:
Romans 6:17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.† 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
Those who have obeyed the gospel have a lot to be thankful for because we have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, and we are no longer a slave to sin. We now have the hope of eternal life in heaven. This is why we see the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:39 and the jailor in Acts 16:34 rejoicing after they had been baptized into Christ for the remission of their sins.
If knowing what Christianity is all about and how God has made it possible for us to have salvation does not bring joy to our heart and cause us to want to serve God, then nothing will. Unfortunately, sometimes Christians lose their joy of serving God and start viewing everything they do in and out of the church as a chore instead of seeing it as another opportunity to use their talent for the Lord.
When Christians get to the point in their life where it is no longer joyful to serve God, then something is wrong. As Billy Sunday said:
†"If you have no joy in your religion, there's a leak in your Christianity somewhere."† †
A man by the name of William Gurnall gives a valid reason why some Christians stop finding joy in serving God:
"The reason why many poor souls have so little heat of joy in their hearts, is that they have so little light of Gospel knowledge in their mind.Ē
The further we distance ourselves from God and His Word, the less joy we will have in serving Him. If we do not make Godís Word part of our life and use it to remind us of His love for us and how He has given His all for us, then it easy for us to take the blessings He has given us for granted.
If we ever find yourself feeling like serving God is more of obligation than joyful then we need take a serious look at our life because we are in a bad place in our relationship with God. Serving God in or out of the church should always bring us joy even if we are suffering persecution for the cause of Christ. We can see this happening early on in the church in Acts 5 when the apostles were arrested by the Jewish council and they wanted to put them to do death, but notice what our text says starting in:
Acts 5:34 Then
one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law
held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles
outside for a little while.† 35
And he said to them: "Men of
Even though the apostleís lives were in jeopardy, they did not worry about themselves. Instead, they rejoiced about serving the cause of God, and they continued to preach the Good News daily wherever they could. This is the same attitude we should because there is nothing that should bring us greater joy than serving God in anyway we can.
Again, some may struggle with the idea that serving God can bring about joy, but I read one survey that said:
ďThose who serve are more content and happy with their life than those who do not serve the Lord and others.Ē
The Bible has taught this idea all along. Serving God and others is a good thing and it has eternal rewards. Of course, the main motivation behind our servitude is love. I am afraid the some view their Christianity as the view their jobs. They do not really like their job, but they do it anyway because they need the pay check. In the same way, some do what God tells them to do, not because they want to, but because they just want to go to heaven. If we simply go through the motions of serving others or serving God without love, we are wasting our time. As Paul said:
1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.† 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.† 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
God has never desired that we serve Him because we feel like we have to. Instead, He wants to find joy in serving Him and others. So, if we are not motivated by our love for God, then as Paul said, ďit profits you nothingĒ. True joy can only be obtained when it comes from love. We learn all about love from God Himself:
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.† 19 We love Him because He first loved us.† 20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?† 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.†
Even if a person has never experienced love, they can read their Bibles and see what love is all about. God has shown His love for us in many ways: He created us and all the beauty we behold on a daily basis, He has been involved in our lives since the day of creation, He created us with a free will, He made a plan of salvation for us that we could choose to follow or ignore. One of the greatest expressions of His love came from Him offering up His only begotten Son so we could have salvation.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.†
We have no valid excuse for not understanding what true love is all about. Since love motivated God to give up His Son for salvation, think about what love can motivate us to do for God and for others.
I want you to think about your life right now. How do you feel about serving God in the church and outside the church? Do you still find joy in serving or does is seem like a burden to you? If it seems like a burden to you, ask yourself why? If you do not know for sure, I would suggest that you need to examine your prayer life and the amount of time you spend in Godís Word. If you are not praying as you should, you may have become more dependent on yourself instead of God. If you are not studying Godís Word as you should, you could be allowing the world and its sinful ways to influence you and rob you of your joy of serving the Lord.
If you want to cure your problem and find joy in serving the Lord, then I would recommend these same two things. Start praying more and studying Godís Word more. You should pray to God to help you have more joy in serving Him. When you put Godís Word into your life daily, it will serve as constant reminder of all the wonderful things that God has done for you and the promises He has made. It will help change your attitude about serving the Lord.†
We must all remind ourselves from time to time about the commitment we made to God when we choose to become a Christian. Sometimes it is easy for us to take the love of God for granted and become lazy in our service to God, but we should always strive to find the passion and the zeal we had for serving Christ when we became a Christian because we are taught to remain faithful to God until death (Rev. 2:10). The Bible teaches us to persevere, press on to the goal, and to run the race to win, but we have to have a willing spirit. So, let us never forget that finding joy in serving God is an essential part of our Christianity.