The Gift of Serving Others

 

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A person with the motivational Gift of Serving Others has been given by the Holy Spirit the God given desire, ability and power to give practical assistance to the members of Christ’s body specifically and to all people generally. This type of practical assistance can be seen in the story found in Exodus 17:10-13 which says, “So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up– one on one side, one on the other– so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”

 

 

 

Aaron and Hur both demonstrated the gift of service when they held up the hands of Moses. The story of their service calls us to take a deeper dive into their motivation. When we look at the word Paul used to describe this gift he used the Greek word diakonos.

 

 

 

The word diakonos directly speaks to someone who executes the commands of another. There are times, like in the Exodus 17 story, when the act of service is neither required, asked for or suggested. This motivational gift moves people to serve. Without thinking about it these wonderfully gifted people see themselves as being a servant, attendant, deacon or minister.

 

 

 

A person motivated by grace to serve others is determined to demonstrate the love and grace of God by meeting practical needs. Sadly, many of these people feel that they are lacking spiritually because of where their attention is drawn to. But the opposite is true. Jesus said that the best thing testimony we can share is revealed in serving others.

 

 

 

Many people who have the motivational gift of serving enjoy doing for others and seeing projects (that benefit others) all the way to the end. To such a person, serving others means serving God. These folks are the example of the statement of Dr. Billy Graham who said, “The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service.”

 

 

 

The Christian life is not limited to the vertical dimension of praise, prayer and interaction with the Holy Spirit. It’s not only about lifting your hands up toward heaven. The Christian life (and the Gift of Serving Others) must never stop stretching hands out for the purpose of lifting others up. Being a Christian is not about knowing the words of the Bible but never following what it says. Those with the gift of service want all of us to be doers of the Word. In his book, The Purpose Driven Life, Pastor Rick Warren said this about the gift of serving. He said, “the last thing many believers need today is to go to another Bible study. They already know far more than they are putting into practice. What they need are serving experiences in which they can exercise their spiritual muscles.”

 

 

 

History tells us that in every age there comes a time when God’s people step forward to meet the needs of the hour. In such a moment, it is imperative that those with the Gift of Serving Others step forward from the crowd. Serving others gives everyone an opportunity to better mankind. The opportunity may be larger than your talents or abilities. It may stretch you beyond anything you have walked through before. Because even though the solution may appear as large as the world, the answer begins with one person serving and that person is you!

 

 

 

If you have the Gift of Serving Others I encourage you to try and make these wise words from The Leader of the Future by C. William Pollard yours. Pollard said, “A servant leader’s results will be measured beyond the workplace, and the story will be told in the changed lives of others. There is no scarcity of feet to wash. The towels and water are available. The limitation is our ability to get on our hands and knees and be prepared to do what we ask others to do.”

 

The Fruit that Flows from Love

 

The Holy Spirit flowed through the pen of the apostle. He wanted the Church in Galatia to know that the fruit of the Spirit is love and that from that marvelous, wondrous and everlasting agape flows fruit that testifies of the goodness, grace and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. That testimony begins with unspeakable joy and peace beyond human understanding. Paul had used joy and peace in addition to righteousness in his letter to the Romans (Romans 14). The word translated “joy” is from the Greek word chara (khar-ah’) and literally speaks to the joy and gladness others receive from the Lord or from an occasion of joy. The root word of chara is chairo (khah’-ee-ro) meaning to rejoice, be glad, to rejoice exceedingly or to give one greeting or salute.

Added to such joy, wonderful joy is the peace that passes understanding. Using the Greek word eirene (i-ray’-nay), Paul chooses to such to declare that we who are “in the Spirit” can live in a state of spiritual and emotional tranquility. By using the word eirene Paul wants his readers to know that they have an exemption from the rage and havoc of war and the struggle that comes with it. Such peace comes with the promise of security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous). Thus, the peace experienced out of the Spirit’s love for us is the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation in Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.

 

Paul’s next triad of fruit is patience, kindness and goodness. Wayne Field in his message on The Fruit of the Spirit: Signs of Life – the Marks of Vibrant Living says the key point for all of us today, especially when it comes to patience, kindness and goodness, is to remember this, it takes the power of God to produce the character of God. Whereas human patience, kindness and goodness have their limitations, God’s is unlimited – endless, infinite, boundless, immeasurable. You don’t need to “try harder” to be more patient or kind or good. If you want a higher patience – you need to plug into a higher power.

 

In other words, we need to be filled full of the Holy Spirit and manifesting His patience, kindness and goodness. The word translated patience in the New International Version is translated as “long-suffering” in the KJV and other versions. Long-suffering comes from the Greek word makrothumia (mak-roth-oo-mee’-ah). Makrothumia is a compound of two words (Makro and thumia). When they are put together the word means patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance, longsuffering and slowness in avenging wrongs.

 

Kindness (or gentleness in the KJV) is from the word chrestotes (khray-stot’-ace) and means moral goodness or integrity. As a fruit of the Spirit, kindness means to exude the quality of being honest and fair as well as to possess the state of being complete or whole by being full of God. Kindness also speaks to “being of the same kind.” It is a group of people that belong together or have some shared quality (like salvation).

 

Goodness is next. The English name Agatha comes from this Greek word (agathosune). The word means to have uprightness of heart and life and is from the Greek root agathos (ag-ath-os’) which means to be of a good constitution or nature, to be useful, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, excellent, upright and honorable.

 

Paul’s last triad concerning the fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Faithfulness here is the same as faith (KJV). In both instances the Greek word is: pistis (pis’-tis). In the Word of God, faithfulness is the conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with the expectation of reward (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is having the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things; He is the provider and One who bestows eternal salvation through Christ Jesus. With such comes the idea of fidelity and faithfulness or the character of one who can be relied on to follow through.

 

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for (Hebrews 11:1-2). 

 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). 

 

Gentleness (Meekness-KJV) is used twice by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. His use of the word has to do with the correction he tried his best to give to the believers in his letters. In 1 Corinthians 4:21 he wrote, “What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?” And in 2 Corinthians 10:1 Paul said, “By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you.” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance describes gentleness as mildness and meekness. It means to have a mild disposition and a gentle of spirit.

 

Self-control is sometimes called temperance. Temperance (egkrateia) is an old Greek word from stemming from egkratês. It means to be one who is holding control of one’s self or having self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites. This word is found in the New Testament only twice. It is used in this passage and in 2 Peter 1:6. Paul has a better list than the four cardinal virtues of the Greek Stoics (temperance, prudence, fortitude, justice), though they are included with better notes struck. Temperance is alike, but kindness is better than justice, long-suffering than fortitude, love than prudence.

 

The fruit of the Spirit is the result of agape. A life full of agape results in a person being able to manifest the character and grace of the Holy Spirit in practical ways. It is His fruit being manifested in, through and from our lives as we abide in the Vine (the Lord Jesus Christ) and are cared for and cultivated by the Husbandman (the Heavenly Father–read John 15:1-7).

Let us pray to be filled full and running over with the Spirit so that we might manifest the fruit of the Spirit to everyone around us. In doing so, Jesus will be lifted up and glorified. This will result in the Spirit drawing men to the Savior and enduing them with eternal life.

 

I love you,

 

Robert

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The Altar’ed Life: Filled with Agape Love

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In my soon to be released book titled, The Altar of His Presence, I speak about the necessity of one being willing to wholly and completely seek the Lord. This is in keeping with the words of Jesus. He said in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

An example of the precept Jesus said that day is found in Psalm 63:1-4. These are the words of King David. He said, “A psalm of David. O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.”

What is the result of such? What should we expect when we completely embrace the full and glorious manifested Presence of God? This may sound simple. But, we should expect the manifestation of the fruit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Before we get into the gifts of the Spirit, let me first speak concerning the fruit.

The manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit is a result of our constant state of abiding in Christ. The concept of “abiding in Christ” includes two things according to the Apostle Paul. He said in Galatians 5:24-25, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Full fruit manifestation is only possible by dying to the sinful nature and living in the Spirit. Such “abiding” is from a concept formed from an old English word signifying a progressive and permanent attitude of being. The word abide means to “await,” “remain,” “lodge,” “sojourn,” “dwell,” “continue,” and “endure.” The word abide is usually the translation of the Hebrew and Greek words yashabh (Hebrew), meaning “to dwell”; and meno, (Greek) meaning “to remain.”

During the time that Jesus was on the earth, the area around Jerusalem was filled with small vineyards. The cultivation of those vineyards required constant care or the vines, branches and fruit would soon degenerate. Whenever it rained the loosely made walls were required to have breaches repaired; the ground had to be plowed or harrowed and cleared of weeds. When the grapes ripened they had to be watched to keep off jackals and foxes (Song of Solomon 2:15), and in some districts even wild boars (Psalm 80:13) away.

When the grape season came, the whole family of the owner frequently took up their residence in a booth constructed upon one of the larger towers and remained there until the grape harvest was practically finished. Harvest time was a time of special happiness. Even the end of harvest time was filled with joy because the gleanings were left to the poor of the village or town (Leviticus 19:10; Deuteronomy 24:21; Isaiah 17:6; Jeremiah 49:9; and Micah 7:1) to have and enjoy.

The activity of developing the fruit of the Spirit is not limited to the service, ministry or supernatural gifts. The fruit that produces moral and spiritual character is traced to the Spirit’s operations as well. In other words, the fruit of the Spirit are expressions pointing to the ethical quality of the Spirit’s action. The ethical quality of dying to the sinful nature and then living in the Spirit is true holiness.

The word holy is from the Hebrew verb form qadhash, whose root meaning is “to be separated.” From qadhash comes the idea “to be exalted,” and this led to the conception “to be Divine.” And as the Lord is morally good, the conception of “the holy (= Divine) one” came to signify the holy one in the moral sense. Thence the word was applied to the Spirit of the Lord as well as to the Lord Himself.

The Holy Spirit desires to manifest the first of His first triad of fruit, the fruit of agape (love). Agape is superior to other kinds of love. The Greeks described love in the terms of philo (brotherly love) and eros (romantic love). The Bible uses the word agape to describe  God’s love. God’s love is faithful, unconditional and eternal. Paul described agape in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 in this way; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

The Easton Bible Dictionary says the word agape must be understood in the light of its use by our Lord in his interview with “Simon, the son of Jonas.” After His resurrection in John 21:16-17, our Lord asked Peter (Simon, the son of Jonas), “Do you love me?” Jesus used the Greek word agape; but when Simon answered the question, he used the Greek word philo, i.e., “brotherly love.”

Jesus used agape in both His first and second questions put to Peter; but in the third our Lord used Simon’s word. The distinction between these two Greek words is thus fitly described by Trench. Agape speaks more to one’s judgment and deliberate choice; whereas, philo has more the idea of emotional attachment and peculiar personal affection. Thus, the question, “Do you love” (agapas) from the lips of the Lord no doubt seemed to Peter to be too cold a word, as though his Lord were keeping him at a distance, or at least not inviting him to draw near, as in the passionate yearning of his heart he desired now to do.

Therefore, Peter substitutes his own word “I love” (philo) in its place. A second time he did the same thing. When the Lord demands a third time whether or not Peter loves him, Jesus does it in the word which alone will satisfy Peter (“Do you love (philo) me, which alone claims from him that personal attachment and affection with which indeed he knows that his heart is full.”

The fruit of the Spirit is agape. In other words, agape loves whether or not there is the feeling of emotional attachment or affection. Agape is love based on a decision and that decision is the decision “to love.” Because God is eternally the same, when He chose “to love” the world He gave. This is because agape can only be witnessed by one’s actions. Agape shines when all other loves fail. Agape remains when brotherly love and romantic love have drifted away.

The Lord Himself…agapas…us and His love never fails!

His love is constant and never ending. So is love born as the fruit of the Spirit. Our first love (agape) must be the Lord. In fact, the Church at Ephesus was exhorted in Revelation 2:4 to return to the Lord because the people had lost their “first love.”

Let us decide to embrace, enjoy and encourage the Lord and then others with agape love.

Choose to do so today! Let the Spirit’s agape blossom and grow in your life! In Jesus’ Name!

Robert