Pure Growth

A Time for More

29861If you carefully obey the commands I am giving you today and love the Lord your God and serve him with your whole being, then he will send rain on your land at the right time, in the fall and spring, and you will be able to gather your grain, new wine, and oil. He will put grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will have plenty to eat. Deuteronomy 11:13-15

What do you love most about spring?

Living in a region marked by very different seasons, spring is a welcome relief from winter. The sun feels a bit warmer. Color returns to the earth. Birds and other animals begin moving about and singing.

I grew up on a farm, and spring was anxiously anticipated. The ground was turned over and small seeds were placed within the dirt in plans for a later harvest that would provide income for our family. Baby animals were born, growing and renewing the population. Spring gave the opportunity to get many outside jobs done that couldn’t have been done earlier. As a young girl, being outside more didn’t have quite as much to do with work as play. I loved exploring, and spring ushered in the invitation to find new adventures. I could make up a story just about anywhere I was, transforming an area of woods into an imaginary world or pretending a stroll up and down hills and around a pond was an around-the-world trek. Spring gave the promise of something more: more time outside, more income, more animals, more options, more color, more warmth. Spring promised provision.

Of course, what we expected in spring was not always exactly what we received. But my dad had been farming for years, and he knew what needed to get done. He was faithful and hard-working. He did his part. He had an important part in preparing for results of farming, but he was never in complete control of the results.

We have an important part in our relationship with God. We obey, love, and serve.

How are you currently obeying God?

Obeying God isn’t as simple as responding as a dog does to his owner. Obeying God is doing God’s will in God’s way to God’s glory. All three braid together to create a strong cord of faith and commitment to God. For example, we can do God’s will but not in God’s way. We can become caught up in the legalism of technically not doing what God’s Word says not to do or doing what it says to do but failing to trust God’s timing. We can do things on our own instead of in community. We can treat God’s will as a checklist, satisfied to place checkmarks in boxes. God wants more from and for us.

We can also do God’s will in the way he desires but stop short of glorifying him. When we experience the benefits of obedience, and a situation turns out well, we can stop short of glorifying him, taking credit for ourselves even though we relied on God through the process. We can even become proud in our faithfulness. Glorifying God comes with much more authentic accolades than we could ever give ourselves. Our cheers are empty unless they are filled with praise for God.

We can do things to God’s glory and in the way he prescribes without it being his will. We have to trust him in directing us how and when we’re to respond. We can expend a lot of effort doing very good things and be outside God’s will. We can see someone doing something worthwhile and emulate, but if it isn’t how God wants us to spend our time, energy, and resources, it’s not what we should be doing. We can do things in God’s name without checking with him first, assuming “Surely, he’d approve, because I’m being so helpful and giving.” Good isn’t good enough. God wants our best, and the only way we can truly glorify God is establishing and maintaining a close relationship with him so that we respond in obedience in his will, way, and glory.

How are you currently loving God?

You might want to consider another related question: What or who are you putting first in your life. In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus answered, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’”

The Greek word for love here is agapao which means to totally give yourself to something, being totally consumed with and committed to it. Whatever you put first in your life is what you agapao. It can be something good or something bad. It can be someone on earth or God.

So, are you loving God in the way intended by Jesus’ words in Matthew 22?

God wants more of you.

One more: How are you currently serving God?

Perhaps you should also establish how you define serving God. Is serving God as simple as attending a weekly service or reading a morning devotional? Is it being involved in one or more ministry teams or service projects? Is it giving a tenth of your income? Is it being available to give whatever God requires in whatever timing and situation even if it doesn’t make perfect sense to you – simply because he says so? Being aware of your personal definition of service will help you understand your answer of how you’re currently serving God. However, your personal definition of service might not be biblical. You might be justifying what is most comfortable to you.

While it might seem like an obvious statement: Serving God is more about God and less about us. We try to define God’s service on our own, and we try to do God’s service on our own. Neither is possible. Serving God must involve receiving from God, because he is the source of all service. He is the source of all that is good.

Anyone who speaks should speak words from God. Anyone who serves should serve with the strength God gives so that in everything God will be praised through Jesus Christ. Power and glory belong to him forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)

God wants more for you. He’s given you the promise of something more. Are you fully enjoying the spring of faith?

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