Good morning, beloved of the Lord! I spent some time with a dear sister in the Lord this week and listened as she bemoaned her spiritual circumstances. Her complaint echoed that of so many Christians: why aren’t I growing? What’s wrong in my church that I don’t feel connected? I’m not serving nearly as much as others but the others are becoming resentful and burned out in the service. As she talked, I could sense the Lord’s compassion and passionate love for her.
Beloved, I believe the message the Lord has in His Holy Scriptures is not just for her, but for every believer who is struggling to find a place where they belong in the Body – a place of service that satisfies and doesn’t destroy. It is so easy to become burned out when we are serving in our own strength. I pray that you have not fallen for the “works” doctrine.
The “works” doctrine insists that we must do something good for God. Good works = faith, so we are told. I think, however, that we mustn’t fall into that trap, because a “works” doctrine steals our joy and saps our strength. You see, the ‘work’ that God has for our hands and feet are unique to us individually, just as much as we are unique from every other believer. If we fall into the trap of the “works” doctrine, we become so busy being duty-bound to volunteer for everything that comes along that we are unavailable when the Holy Spirit actually taps us on the shoulder and asks us to do something for HIM. I am reminded of a story that a woman once told me about her experience after a long day of going out with a street ministry to evangelize (NOT where her heart was), she was standing in line at a take-out counter when the Holy Spirit nudged her about a man in front of her. Unfortunately, she was exhausted after what, to her, was a fruitless day of evangelizing and so she ignored the nudge. She had spent all day doing what others told her she needed to be doing without any fruit, and missed the ONE THING the Holy Spirit wanted her to do.
Faith without works is indeed dead (James 2:26) – but works born out of duty instead of passionate love for the Savior are going to burn up (2 Peter 3:10). Jesus Christ didn’t suffer and die so that we would live a life in the bondage of duty – He died to set us FREE. Free to love Him, to serve Him when He asks, and to bear spiritual fruit for His harvesting. The spiritual fruit comes from the hand of the Father, not from our works. (Galatians 5:22-23) And the works that we should be doing will suffer loss if we are so busy doing something else instead. Each person in the Body of Christ has a unique position. There are as many persons in the Body of Christ as there are cells in the human body, and each cell performs a perfect work – the one designed for it to do. We don’t expect our brain cells to filter blood, so why would we expect someone God has gifted with administration to be out cleaning the parking lot? Each part of the Body is designed for a specific task, and if we are doing someone else’s task, who is doing ours?
Think about it in the natural – a tree does not go searching for nutrients or water or sunshine in order to produce a harvest of fruit. God provides what the tree needs and the tree then does, quite naturally, what it was designed to do. If we would just drink in what God provides and watch the Holy Spirit develop the fruit in us, I think we would find life taking on a whole new realm of joy and passion. We’d begin to see the fruit that is developing in us being used to feed others – either spiritually or naturally. And it wouldn’t be a chore – it would be a delight and a joy because we would be right where God wanted us, when He wanted us, and doing what He wanted instead of what others demand we must do.
So, dearly beloved of Christ, let us take a few moments today and take stock of where we are and what we are doing. We should be breaking up the ground around our hearts (Hosea 10:12) to allow the nutrients that God is pouring out to reach our hearts and produce the fruit He desires. Let’s not make this harder than it has to be. Loving God should be as effortless as breathing and just as life-giving.
Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”