“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart (Eph 6:5, 6).”
Christians are not immune from the possibility of serving out of a sense of routine, much like brushing our teeth. This happens commonly when one has been in the faith for a number of years. We coast along, having forgotten what it is to serve from the heart. To the church of Ephesus, the Lord has this indictment: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love (Rev 2:4).” They did wonderful works but sadly had forgotten their first love to the Saviour.
Paul wrote of the attitude we ought to have in serving: from the heart. Our service must be sincere and without ulterior motive to be acceptable. Some serve as men-pleasers, hoping to win the approval and praises of their fellow men. The Lord warns us in Matthew 6:1-18 against putting on a show to impress others. A Christian does the will of God sincerely and without guile.
Resolving not to lose our first love, let the saints of God revisit once more what love to the Lord means on a practical scale. Love for God and the brethren, according to the apostle John, is obedience to Him. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments (1Jn 5:1-2).”
The worship we render unto our God must be sincere. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).” Insincerity in worship is an insult to the Almighty. It has always been so. Joshua in his final address to the children of Israel exhorted them, “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD (Jos 24:14).”
Worship is a joy, not a burden. Well did the psalmist say, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD (Psa 122:1).” When the children of God gather on the first day of the week to participate in this holy activity, may our hearts and minds be ready to meet with Him through the acts of worship.
God wants our hearts to be right with Him and for Him. God wants true allegiance from the heart, not lip service. He wants more than an outward form of conformity. The New Covenant of Christ is a heart-religion (Heb 8:10). God wants our obedience not merely out of terror and dread of His threatened wrath and punishment, but because we love Him for who He is and what he has done, and because we desire to please our Maker. The greatest commandment is to love Him with all of our being. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Mat 22:37).”
When Barnabas visited the brethren at Antioch, “and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord (Act 11:23). With all purpose of heart – that is the key. For it is out of a heart of gratitude for the great salvation that we serve Him (cf. Rom 6:17).
With all this in mind, let us check to ensure our service is sincerely from the heart. The first thing we can do is to align our ‘wants’ with the will of God. “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Mat 6:20-21).”
If we made a list of our wants and desires, and then made a list of what God wants of us – how close would they align? The Lord Jesus sets the perfect example. “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God…(Heb 10:9)” In the face of cruel death, He said: “not my will, but thine, be done (Luke 22:42).”
When we realised the discrepancy between our desires and God’s, we must seize the opportunity to align our will with His. This happens because we do not quite know our Lord as we supposed we do. To truly own eternal life is to know God. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent (John 17:3).” Therefore we must strive to grow in the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ (2Pe 3:18).
The better we know God – the more likely our service will be from the heart. Engage actively in the church and the Lord’s work; spend time with God and His people. God has purposely designed that His people come together for worship and worship is a way of expressing reverence & love to God. The more we worship sincerely – the greater our love for God. It is a discipline. Let us also tell others of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
God’s commandments are not grievous to those with the right attitude. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous (1Jn 5:3).