Fear and Serve God

“Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.” (1 Sam 12:24-25, ESV2011).

“Fear the Lord! Serve the Lord!” These are not any more very common teachings in many Western churches. Rather, God is presented as a sugar daddy. Christianity became more about what can we get from God to spoil ourselves instead of fearing and serving God. However, the concepts of fearing and serving the Lord have dominated both the Old and the New Testaments. Lives of many great man of God like Moses, David, Peter and Paul were all marked with their fear of God and service to God.

Solomon concluded his analysis of life’s experiences and life’s meaning with “fear God and keep His commandments…” (Ecc 12:13, NKJV).

Jesus’ parable of the talents also teach about serving God with fear (Mat 25:14-30). Likewise, Paul’s teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit also imply our responsibility to serve God according to our calling and gifts (1 Cor 12:1-11).

In conclusion, Christian life is a life of fearing and serving God as much as growing in God’s love and grace. Thus do not be fooled by the self-centred feel good sermons or consumer friendly teachings of prosperity preachers. You are here to fear and serve God.

Unselfish Christianity

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mat 10:37-39, ESV2011).

This might sound rather difficult to accept but, this is exactly what Christ demands from His followers: unselfish love, unselfish commitment. If you cannot value Christ more than your own life, if you cannot love Him more than all your family, friends and everything else, you are not worthy of Him. That means you shall not even call yourselves Christian if your life is not totally and unconditionally committed to Christ. In the post-modern Western culture, there is the great movement of making Christianity as cheap and as easy as possible. That is called consumer friendly or politically correct Christianity. Sadly, by many popular preachers and authors Christianity is portrayed as a mere lip service to God or as a self-help gimmick. However, this Western way of understanding and promoting Christianity is neither biblical nor in line with Christ’s calling.

True and truly biblical Christianity starts and ends with a radical commitment and undiluted love for Christ.

Jesus please forgive me for my selfish Christianity and half hearted commitment to you. Jesus, today, I decide to love you more than all and commit myself to you totally and unconditionally. Amen.

 

Submission in prayer

My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Mat 26:39, ESV2011).

Although Jesus was God he was also man. Although he came earth to do God’s will he also knew the great suffering and humiliation that he was going to face. Thus He prayed: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me”

However, Jesus was humble and submissive in His prayer, thus He ended with “nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

That I call submissive prayer. This is exactly the opposite of stubborn prayer where one stubbornly asks God what he wants and never even thinks about God’s will.

Essentially, submissive prayer is God centred, while stubborn prayer is self-centred. Submissive prayer sees God as the King of universe to whom we must submit. Stubborn prayer, sees God as a sugar daddy in the heavens whose job is to give us all we ask.

Submissive prayer thinks that it is about God and what God wants. Stubborn prayer is selfish and arrogant enough to think that it is all about me and what I want.

Paul’s testimony in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 is another good example of submissive prayer. Jesus and Paul did not rebel against God when their requests were not granted, but they simply submitted to Father’s decision.

Heavenly Father, please teach me to pray not stubbornly but submissively. May I be God-centred and not self-centred in my prayers Amen.

If you keep quiet…

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esth 4:14, ESV2011).

Jews were facing a total destruction from Haman. Although Esther was not Haman’s immediate victim, safe in king’s palace, she was called to speak up for others.

Similarly, today, Jews in Israel are under attack, and face intense pressure from the rest of the world. At the same time, across the world millions of Christians face persecution and murder on a daily basis. However we, South African Christians, are still free and safe as Esther was in the palace. Just like Esther, we are also called to speak up for the relief and deliverance of God’s people.

Our safety and freedom should not lead us to indifference to the sufferings of other Christians and also Jews. On contrary, we shall see freedom and safety as God’s empowerment to stand up and speak against the atrocities committed to God’s people (Jews and Christians) across the world. We shall use freedom to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, defend those who cannot defend themselves, fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

Perhaps, God put you in this place at this moment in history so that you may speak up and defend Jews and Christians. Also remember, if you keep silent at this time God’s relief and deliverance for His people will come from somewhere else but you and your house may perish.