Do Great Things for God?

31 03 2015

EasterFor most of my life and early pastoral ministry I followed this popular exhortation, “Do great things for God!” I was told and even preached that the best thing you could do with your life was to serve God with your whole heart. This was also the repeated challenge by the senior pastor of the church where I served as an associate staff. The more a member served God through the church indicated the sincerity of their love and heart for God.

But years of personally and aggressively trying to follow this belief only led to frustration and fatigue. Even trying to “balance” my time for God with my  family or other activities did nothing to stave off the empty weariness. The only consolation was that it was “noble” to burn out for God like so many gone before me.  I had accepted the popular idea that Christ died for our sins so now we need to gratefully devote our lives to obeying the Bible.

Is this what God expects? Did Jesus die so that we would just give Him our dutiful life service? The Bible says that when He died, we died with Him. And when He arose we rose with Him. If we have risen with Him whose life is it that we are living? (See Colossians chapters 1-3). God never intended that Christ’s death just motivate our service to Him but that Christ’s death and resurrection bring us a new existence. Instead of surrendering my life to doing “God things” what God wants is my life yielded to His resurrected life. He wants me to know the “secret” of the indwelling life of Christ, my real life, so that I can say like Paul, “I myself longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2.20)

I thought I was saved so that He could use me; a kind of sanctified instrument in His hands. But in reality He saved me so that He could replace my old self with Himself. I died with Him so that He could live in me. He is not impressed with how much I can serve or devote myself to Him but rather if I let Him express His life through me. My fleshly performance is not what counts, only His. No amount of Bible study, prayer life, witnessing, or serving in my local church will amount to anything  if it isn’t actually His doing.

It is said that the first century Christians “turned the world upside down”( Acts 17.6 ). But how did they do that? Most of them had no Scripture or Bible to obey. Something or some power was evident in their lives. Could it be that they knew the “secret” of the indwelling life and how to express that life to a watching world? It is interesting that now that we have the Bible we can’t seem to make a significant dent in our culture for the kingdom. It seems that the greater impact comes not from just obeying the Bible but obeying Him.

What I am learning is that the Christian life is Christ’s life. It isn’t about that I believe in the Bible. It isn’t me trying to imitate or serve Him but rather its about expressing Him through loving others, speaking words of grace and truth and doing things that come from Him. I can’t do great  things for God. That’s presumption. But He can do great things if I say “yes” to what He desires to do through me.

Let Christ’s resurrection life do mighty things in and through you. Happy Easter living!


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