How NOT to Serve God


Your motive for serving should be pure. And that pure motive is the love of God.

“God's commands are designed to guide you to life's very best. You will not obey Him, if you do not believe Him and trust Him. You cannot believe Him if you do not love Him. You cannot love Him unless you know Him.” —Henry Blackaby

Do you tend to serve because you are afraid God will reject you if you don’t? Do you serve because a preacher stands at a pulpit and makes you feel inferior if you don’t? I hope not, because that will end badly.

Service by guilt is decidedly not the best way to go. Guilt-induced obedience, tradition-based ritual… it’s all just an empty shadow of how we have been designed to live in Christ. It’s just generally a bad idea to serve for any other reason than being filled with love.

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. —Hosea 6:6

I’d suggest take a little inventory here. What is your true motivation? Pleasing people, insecurity, fear, guilt, tradition, obligation… within all our hearts lurk false and destructive motives. Ask God to reveal them to you.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. —Psalm 139:23-24

One motive is pure. One motive will keep you from burning out when the task is huge. One motive will keep you from condemnation when you fail. One motive will keep you from self-righteousness when you succeed.  That pure motive is the love of God itself—the source of all true worship and service. That launches “The Threefold Interlock” life of faith:

  1. We love God.
  2. That love for God leads to dependency on God.
  3. Dependency on God results in obedience to God.

 Lord, I want to serve You with my whole heart, a heart full of Your love. Free me from false, destructive motives. Fill me with love and affection for You. Empower me to become ever more dependent on You. May Your love be the power behind every move I make for Your glory. Amen.


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