Five Characteristics Of A Servant Of God

Today, I would like to talk about 5 characteristics that every servant of God should have, based on the Apostle Paul’s introduction to the Book of Romans. These characteristics were present in the life and ministry of Paul and are good indicators of any Christian’s spiritual health. They can be found in Romans 1:8-12.

A Thankful Servant

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” (Romans 1:8)

Verses 1-7 of Romans 1 serve as the typical formal “greeting and salutations” that open up most of Paul’s letters. They serve as an introduction of Paul, the writer; the church at Rome, the addressee; and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the book’s subject. Verse 7 concludes these lines of introduction with a benediction to the Roman believers to whom this book is addressed.

So, Verse 8 would be the actual first sentence of the body of the letter itself. After reading the entirety of Romans, we see that Paul certainly had a great deal of extremely crucial doctrines to expound on in this letter and, judging by the fact that he begins shortly hereafter to present and define the Gospel in earnest (beginning with Verse 18), he is not given to wasting a lot of time with excessive pleasantries. But what is the first thing that he does?

“First, I thank my God…”

A devoted servant of the Lord will be sure to take the time to thank God, regardless of their own sense of urgency for the task at hand. Before he asks another thing from God or presents anything else to his readers, Paul ensures that he gives thanks to the Provider of all things. The frequent giving of thanks in the life of a believer is an often repeated, highly important practice in all of Paul’s teachings (e.g., Phil. 4:6, Col. 3:15, 1 Tim. 2:1). In fact, he will tell the Church in Thessalonica that the giving of thanks to God is the will of our Lord Jesus Christ for the Christian (1 Thess. 5:18). And he will shortly tell the Church in Rome that unthankfulness is a step in the path that leads a man away from God and is a hallmark of a heart in rebellion against the Lord (Rom. 1:21).

A Prayerful Servant

“For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;” (Rom. 1:9)

How many inner, spiritual struggles; how many conflicts within our own souls; how many crises of faith and moments of doubt could be resolved if we were to admit that we do not always pray as we should? We know that we ought to pray and pray often, but other matters crowd into our lives, competing for our attention — and they slowly suffocate our spiritual health.  It seems so obvious, so utterly intuitive that our deepest trials, our toughest battles could be swiftly overcome; not by standing firmly on our feet, but by falling to our knees in prayer! Yet we do not. If he was anything, Paul was a man of prayer. Would that all Christians were so given to a robust prayer life that we were all described as men and women of prayer. I can think of no more urgent goal for any believer than this.

A Submitted Servant

“Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey BY THE WILL OF GOD to come unto you.” (Rom. 1:10 emphasis added)

James wrote in his epistle that everything we do is done by the gracious allowance of God Almighty. Whether we do this thing or that, even whether or not our life on Earth continues another moment, everything that we have is because of the providence of God and is according to His will (James 4:13-15). Paul wrote the letter to the Romans while he was in the city of Corinth. He wanted to visit the Church in Rome personally, but he recognized that his life was in the hands of God, to do with according to His will and desire. Paul knew that his life was directed and upheld by God’s power, not by his own will and strength. The servant of God must recognize that he has been crucified with Christ and that the life he leads now is not his own, but belongs to his Lord Who lives through Him (Gal. 2:20). It was Paul’s desire for a “prosperous journey” that would bring him to Rome, and he asked the Lord for as much. But he knew that God may very well have something else in mind for him, and it was God’s will that he wished to see come to fruition — even above his own.

A Giving Servant

“For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;” (Rom. 1:11)

A devoted servant of God will have the desire to serve His people. Without a question, we are God’s servants, not man’s, but the biggest way that we serve God is by serving others who belong to Him. God did not call any of us to shut out everyone from our lives and live in isolation. Nor did God call us to seek to be served, but rather to serve others. So many Christians go to church and call it the “Sunday service”, but whose service is it? Who is serving and who is being served? For many, the thought is that the pastor is serving the congregation, but God has called His people to serve Him and serve each other. God doesn’t want “benchwarmers” filling the pews, He wants people with the heart of a servant.

Most churches I have visited will point out to newcomers the advantages of joining their congregation by telling them about all of the things they offer to them. My first question is: Can I be used here? Is there an opportunity for me to serve in this church? If not, I want to go somewhere else! If it is not in the service of others, then how can we really serve a God Who is in need of nothing? Before He ascended back to the Father, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. “Do you love Me?“, He asked three times (John 21:15-17). When Peter said he did, what was our Lord’s response? Do this for Me, do that for Me, bring Me this, give Me that? No. “Feed My sheep.” Take care of the needs of My people. A servant of God is by definition a servant of God’s people.

A Humble Servant

“That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” (Rom. 1:12)

At the opposite end of the spectrum from the ungiving and selfish believer is the seemingly “selfless” servant who appears to do nothing but serve other believers and give to them. While having a great zeal to do the work of the Lord and serve His people is very commendable (and all too rare!) , we must be sure that we do not develop an overinflated sense of self-importance. No matter how far along we get in our walk with the Lord, there is never a time when there are not things we need from other believers. Never. God has intentionally designed it this way. We do not all have the same function in the Body of Christ and we all need each other.

It amazes me that Paul can tell the new converts in Rome that he is looking forward to them comforting him, but he does. Paul, the writer of most of the New Testament; Paul, the man to whom the Lord Jesus Personally appeared and taught the Gospel to; Paul, the founder of several of the very first churches in the world, spreading the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire. Yes, even Paul recognized that he could be comforted and blessed by even relative newcomers to the Faith; he recognized that he still benefited from the gifts which the Spirit of God gave to other Christians. Although he realized that it was necessary for him to write to and eventually visit the Church in Rome in order to firmly establish them in the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel, he was also aware that he himself was not beyond being blessed with the Spiritual gifts that God had given them.

5 Characteristics Of A Devoted Servant

There are obviously a whole lot of other characteristics that we would attribute to a profitable servant of God, but we clearly see these 5 displayed in the Apostle Paul through what he says in this passage of Romans. They are 5 characteristics that ought to mark every servant of God.

Anything But God

Yesterday, I watched the film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” which is a documentary about the occupational persecution and ostracizing that exists in Academia toward college professors who dare to challenge the Darwinian model of  Biology, or even so much as suggest that “Intelligent Design” might be a valid  scientific hypothesis worth consideration. The movie does not really delve into the arguments for or against either side of the “debate”, but rather serves as an expose of the fate of those who fail to “toe the party line.” The purpose of the film is to uncover the suppression that exists in institutes of higher learning against those who are so presumptuous as to question the “conventional wisdom” of Darwinism and all of its unanswered problems, suggesting that the truth might be found elsewhere.

What is revealed in this movie, for me at least, is something that many theists have suspected for quite some time: Darwinism is in and of itself a “religion.” Dictionary.com gives the following definition for the term “religion”:

“a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhumanagency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conductof human affairs.” (1)

Darwinism ceases to be science and becomes religion when its ideas are extrapolated to interpret the origins of life. As is pointed out in “Expelled”, Darwin did not simply write a book defining what he had observed scientifically, which may have illuminated the mechanism of intra-special changes, he wrote a book called the “ORIGIN of the Species.” He went beyond the realm of the observable and entered into the realm of pure speculation. Such practice is certainly acceptable for scientific inquiry, such would even define “hypothesis” or “theory.” But when the unproven hypothesis or speculation is elevated to the level of that which is deemed conclusively proven, when the “theory” is canonized as “unquestionable truth”, when an establishment is set in place which governs the behavior of individuals or, as the definition puts it: “a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs”, when devotion and ritual observance accompanies the dispersion of the theory to the uninitiated (such as is the case in institutions where Darwinism is rigidly taught; one professor in the film describes his own indoctrination into Evolutionary theory to the intended exclusion of all other religious belief), this fulfills the parameters of a religion.

What is interesting to note is the utterly absurd suggestions that zealous Darwinists will make in order to explain the impetus that brought about life on Earth. Some of these ideas are explored a little in “Expelled.” The irony cannot be lost on the objective viewer as the same individuals who are calling traditional belief in God “ignorant”, “stupid”, “foolish”, etc. in the interviews, are later speaking with great sincerity over the possibility that life began on Earth from protein-rich seeds planted here in time immemorial by alien life forms (the theory of “Panspermia”). Fortunately for the professors making the suggestion, Ben Stein (the movie’s host) did not ask the obvious “begged” question of how in turn the alien life forms originated. Another scholar described with equal conviction the notion that proteins on the primitive Earth “hitch-hiked” on the backs of crystals in order to come together and form the building block amino acids of which all life is composed. As long as your theory precludes the concept of an intelligent, loving God, it seems all ideas are fair game, regardless of how ridiculous.

Finally, one of the most intriguing segments of the entire movie for me was the interview toward the end between Ben Stein and famed atheist Prof. Richard Dawkins. Author of the bestseller, “The God Delusion”, Dawkins goes beyond defending Darwinism from attacks by theists to making his own attacks against theism and organized religion as a whole. Prof. Dawkins read his own words of vitriol from his book concerning the God of the Bible with great panache during the interview, his smug, self-congatulatory arrogance thinly veiled. But as Stein pressed him as to exactly how sure he was that God does not exist, as Stein repeated his question again and again to clarify Dawkin’s complete atheism — forcing Dawkins to reiterate in his own words his absolute certainty that there is zero possibility for God’s existence– his discomfort and hesitation became quite obvious as his formerly confident articulation was reduced to a stammering befuddlement.

We should make no mistake, nor should there exist any pretense otherwise, that Darwinism is a religion. Its precepts are accepted on faith, in spite of abundant contradictory evidence, and dissension against it is met with hostile retribution. When its implications are carried out to their logical end, the value of life, especially human life, is reduced to the point of utter meaninglessness and the individual’s merits are measured in their ability to contribute to society as a whole. Consequently, the evils of abortion, euthanasia, eugenics, and genocide are seen as nothing more than mankind’s assistance of the natural, Evolutionary process. It is no wonder that Darwinism’s proponents feel threatened by the notion of a Personal, loving God to whom all men are morally accountable. Therefore, their agenda is to completely eradicate any reminder of God’s existence as they attempt to redefine reality by embracing anything else. Anything, that is, but God.

**(1) http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion

Living In Thanksgiving Everyday

As we take time to pause and celebrate, giving thanks for all of the blessings that we have been given, join me and take a moment to reflect on the words of the 100th Psalm and consider four things to thank the Lord for on this Thanksgiving Day:

As we take time to pause and celebrate, giving thanks for all of the blessings that we have been given, join me and take a moment to reflect on the words of the 100th Psalm and consider four things to thank the Lord for on this Thanksgiving Day:

Thank Him For Who He Is, Not Just What He Has Done

“Know ye that the LORD he is God” (Psalm 100:3a)

All too often we tend to give thanks to God only for the things that He has given to us and not for Who He is. God’s presence in our lives is not the sum of the blessings He brings to us. That the One Who sits upon the Throne of Heaven and reigns over the Universe itself would want to sit upon the thrones of our own hearts and rule over our lives is a wondrous thing, indeed. What is man that Thou art mindful of him? asks the Psalmist (Psalm 8:4), for it is no small thing that the Lord of glory would even be interested in condescending to know us and to give us life in Him. But He does. He is God, He is the One in control of all things. Let us thank Him that He is God.

Thank Him For Giving Us Life, Not Just Making Our Lives Better

“It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;” (Psalm 100:3b)

The Psalmist writes again that “Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-14). The Apostle Paul declared: “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Let us recognize this Thanksgiving not only the recent blessings that God has brought into our lives, but the fact that He is the very One Who has given us life in the first place.

Thank Him For Who He Has Made Us, Not Just Who We Hope To One Day Be

“We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:3c)

We have a Shepherd Who loves us and takes care of us. The Shepherd has chosen us to be His sheep and to live in His pasture. So often we pray for God to make us something else, to help us become someone better. Yet there is truly no higher attainment that we can strive for, nor is there any place of greater safety than to live as a sheep among His flock. We are His sheep because He has made us so. Let us thank Him for that.

Thank Him For What He Will Do For Us Tomorrow, Not Just For What He Has Done For Us Yesterday And Today

“For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)

While the Lord has instructed us not to be anxious over the things of tomorrow (Matthew 6:34), He has never forbidden us to be thankful for His provision that has not yet come. It is never to early to thank God for the things that He will do in the future. In verse 3 of Psalm 100 we saw that God has made us (yesterday), that He is God and we are His people (today). Verse 5 shows us that His mercy is everlasting and endures to all generations (tomorrow). Let us thank Him that He has taken care of us yesterday, even since before we were born; He is taking care of us today; and He will take care of us tomorrow. God has been faithful, He is faithful today, and He will continue to be so for all those who will live after us until the Day of His return.

Living In Thanksgiving Everyday

May you and those whom God has put into your life have a truly blessed and happy Thanksgiving Day. May we keep these things to be thankful for from the 100th Psalm in our hearts and not just mention them briefly in a prayer offered before we eat a meal this Thursday. Let us live in thanksgiving to God each and everyday – not merely giving thanks in the words we say, but by acknowledging Him in all of our ways.

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” (Psalm 100:4)