The Sin of Serving?

I read this from Oswald Chambers in the devotional My Utmost for His Highest (January 18) and have been thinking about it ever since:

"Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him. It is easier to serve than to pour out our lives completely for Him. The goal of the call of God is His satisfaction, not simply that we should do something for Him. We are not sent to do battle for God, but to be used by God in His battles. Are we more devoted to service than we are to Jesus Christ Himself?"

Christian ambition is a good thing, and in our day and age I think we need more of it. We need to be earnest for the Kingdom of God and zealous for good works. Our churches need more passion for the gospel not less.

However, it has been said that the greatest temptations in life come from the truest realities. It is just like the devil to take all that is the highest and purest and twist it into a degrading falsehood. A simple look at the gift of sex in today's world will show how something designed for sacred intimacy between a husband and wife can be poisoned into a self-gratifying, commonplace act.

If that is indeed how sin works it is no secret "serving" can become one of our greatest sins--for no other reason than it is so noble a thing. Few things are higher than a mortal's service to Almighty God.

And that is the dangerous subtlety of it all. It is far too easy for us, without even realizing, to serve serving instead of serving God. We feverishly throw ourselves into ministries, ambitiously take on tasks, devote large percentages of our weeks to good things--and yet we can still dangerously miss the point. Isn't that what the Pharisees did? In there zeal for the law they missed Christ. Their affections were misplaced--and in serving serving, they were actually serving themselves.

So we must learn to frequently check our hearts: "why are we doing what we are doing?" Is Jesus the sole object of our affection, or has the gift of heaven's service grown into the end all? Are we devoted to His glorification alone--or are we, like those Pharisees, also missing Him?


"The goal of the call of God is His satisfaction, not simply that we should do something for Him."


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