Serving God or Seeing God?

Have you ever, “put your foot in your mouth”? I remember years ago complimenting a gospel singer on my favorite song that she sang on a record album and she replied that the soloist of that song was not her, but another singer! I stammered and tried to divert attention from my blunder.

It seems I am not alone in this “foot in mouth” syndrome. Remember the apostle Peter’s offer to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration? Jesus was praying while His three closest disciples fell asleep. Then Jesus was transfigured and shone with the glory of heaven.

Moses and Elijah appeared and conversed with Christ, speaking of Calvary: “[They] appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to ac complish at Jerusalem” (Luke 9:23). Here “decease” (His crucifixion) translates the Greek word “exodus.” Consider the parallel of God’s redemption of Israel through the Passover Lamb through Moses with this conversation about the Ultimate Passover Lamb (Jesus) anticipating His sacrifice of atonement. On the Cross Christ accomplished full redemption for the people of God! (Heb.9:11-15).

Peter, James, and John awoke from their slumber, and as the two Old Testament heroes were leaving Peter blurted out “‘Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’ –not knowing what he said” (Luke 9:33). The need of the moment was not for building, but for beholding: “While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were fearful as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!’ “(Luke 9:34,35).

Do we also get preoccupied with what we want to do for God, rather than what God desires to do through us? Our ultimate purpose in life is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”[1]

Roy and Revel Hession discuss these vital issues in We Would See Jesus: “The Bible’s answer to the question, ‘What is the purpose of life?’ is to know, and to love, and to walk with God; that is, to see God… Today, however, we do not hear much about the need to see God … instead of stressing holiness to see God, the emphasis is on service for God. We have come to think of the Christian life as consisting of serving God as fully and efficiently as we can … This does not mean that God does not want us engaged actively in His service. He does; but His purpose is often far different from what we think. Our service, in His mind, is to be far more the potter’s wheel on which He can mold us than the achieving of those spectacular objectives on which we set our hearts. He sees a sharp point in our make-up that is continually wounding others … He therefore allows someone to come and work alongside us who will rub against that sharp point and round it off … But if we bow to what God has allowed, and repent of our sinful reactions, we will find that very situation has led us into a deeper experience of His grace and of His power to satisfy our hearts with Himself alone.” [2]

I admit that ministry can be my measure of significance, unless the Lord renews my mind with these insights. The apostle Paul gives a balanced perspective on glorifying and serving God: “So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase… For we are God’s fellow workers…” (1 Cor. 3:7,9; (See John 15:5,8).).

As we abide in Christ our ministry with Christ will bear fruit for the glory of God.

Our Father, cleanse us due to the times we get ahead of Your best by impulsive, self-driven service. May we be still and know that You are God. We rely upon Your grace to empower and direct us. In Christ’s name we pray, amen.

2nd edition

[1] Westminster Shorter Catechism, Answer 1. .

[2] Roy and Revel Hession, We Would See Jesus (p. 10,11,15,16). CLC

Copyright by John B. Woodward in 1998, 2010. Permission is granted to reprint (with credit given) for non-commercial use. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

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