1 Peter 4:11
“Whoever serves, let him serve by the strength God supplies, so that in everything God may be glorified.”
I read a short devotional piece by John Piper yesterday that included this scripture and, honestly, it’s leaving me quite convicted. Being in ministry, both partnering with my church and trying to start one on my own, I’m still figuring out what service to the Kingdom of God really means, and the reason I was left feeling very convicted is because I was working really hard at ministry there for a little bit. In the last few weeks, I was doing a lot research and paperwork and behind-the-scenes kind of stuff and it was work. It was overwhelming and I missed deadlines in a lot of other areas in my life. I totally forgot about other things that were actually pretty important and also needed to get done. I was running out of steam.
And the Lord led me to this devotional and yesterday’s was so spot on in pointing out the error of my ways:
I was busy working for God when I should have been resting and allowing God to work for me.
It almost sounds arrogant, doesn’t it? To just be like: “Um, yeah. God works for me” as if to say, “I’m kind of a big deal,” right? False.
To say that God works for me does not mean that I am an employer and God needs a job. No, it means that I am bankrupt and I need a bailout. It means I am weak and I need someone stronger. God works for me because I cannot work for myself.
And because of this, it is God who is glorified by His own works, not me. “The Giver gets the glory,” John Piper said. “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you” says Psalm 55:22, let Him do the work. Let Him carry the burden. Let Him carry you. Let Him carry me.
In the devotion, here are the 11 scriptures listed as the ways that God works for us:
1. “No eye has seen a God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 64:4)
2. “God is not served by human hands as though he needed anything, but he himself gives life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17:25)
3. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
4. “The eyes of the LORD run through the earth, to show himself strong for those who trust him.” (2 Chronicles. 16:9)
5. “If I were hungry, I wouldn’t tell you. Call on me, I will deliver you. You will glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15)
6. “To old age I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” (Isaiah 46:4)
7. “I worked harder than any, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Corinthians. 15:10)
8. “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
9. “Whoever serves, let him serve by the strength God supplies, so that in everything God may be glorified.” (1 Peter 4:11)
10. “Work out your own salvation, for it is God who works in you, to will and to work.” (Philippians 2:12–13)
11. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6–7)
The only thing I think I could or should add to His devotion is that even though the Lord says that He will carry our burdens and He will do the work, even though He says to cast our cares upon Him, He does not say that to cast our responsibility on Him. Just because God says that He will quench your thirst does not mean to stop drinking water, right? We aren’t called to be sitting around in nothingness, floating from here to there; work still has to be done. But it is GOD WORKING THROUGH US that gets the work done. He will do work for us and through us, but we still have a responsibility to follow Him, put our faith in Him, and walk out the purposes that He planted us here to for. We are active, even when we’re waiting on God, we are to be active. Passivity is not the goal. The goal is to allow ourselves to enter into such a deeply trusting relationship with the Lord that we aren’t working for Him to earn Him or please Him or anyone else for that matter – we’re just actively opening ourselves up and laying our own agendas down to be worked THROUGH.
Have you ever felt like being a Christian was a job? Has it ever run you dry?
How did the Lord sustain you in that time?
Please share in the comments!