Doesn’t it seem natural for a follower of Jesus to live his/her life committed to “doing something for God”? Isn’t this what we are supposed to do, help God reach the world? Matter of fact, there have been numerous gospel songs written with that in mind. One song that comes to my mind contains a line like this, “If working and praying has any reward, then surely some morning I will meet my dear Lord…if anyone makes it all the way home, Lord surely I will.”
The implication of the song is that our self-effort and good works get us to heaven. Those of us who believe that “Jesus is the way, the truth and life…” would quickly condemn that belief system and say it smacks of salvation by works.
However, many of us live our Christian life promoting a similar belief system. We live as if our security and spiritual well-being is related to how much “we do for God”. We may believe that our salvation is “by grace through faith” but we live our Christian life driven by self-effort “attempting to do something for God.” Living in this manner is like an empty vessel trying to fill itself.
You can spot those who live with this belief system. They are constantly trying to measure up to some sort of spiritual performance but always feeling that they are falling short.
Or another example would be someone needing some sort of spiritual experience every Sunday, so that they can feel close to God. It’s as if drinking from the fountain that Jesus gives is not enough. Jesus said that if we drink from His fountain we would thirst no more because His fountain is a fountain springing from within, like an artesian well. “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give them shall never thirst; but the water I give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
The Christian life is not about “doing things for God”. Think about these questions: What does God need? Does He really need us? How much work for God is enough? How will you know when you have done enough? How do you know when you have measured up?
God never intended for us to “do things for Him” in order to measure up to His acceptance. That’s because He already accepts us. The moment we were placed in Christ at salvation, we were eternally accepted by God, all without an ounce of self-effort.
Then how do we serve God? First we must come to the point that “apart from Him we can do nothing.” God is waiting for us to acknowledge that we can’t live the Christian life. When we accept that we can’t, God reveals that Christ can. God’s design is for us to stop striving and start resting.
As a result, the will of God will be done through us. Instead of attempting to “do something for God”, we allow Christ to live His life through us, and then watch as God does “exceeding, abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…” (Ephesians 3:20)