Saturday, December 01, 2007

On Service (2)

Service & Waiting
A group of us who gather weekly talked a lot last night about seasons of waiting on God to encounter Him and thus be changed forever to live intimately with Him in life and mission. This isn't the waiting like during a session of silent prayer; Rather, it was being referred to as a season of life in which all we do is pray and wait on Him before moving into service. The idea is that we would be transformed like in Acts 2 so that we can move into service with His power.

The more I reflect on the idea, however, the more I'm wondering about it. I see an expanded set of elements and more-overlapping chronology in how Scripture deals with the matter...

  1. "We know that when He appears we will be like Him because we will see Him just as He is" (1 John 3:2). "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image" (2 Corinthians 3:18).

    As we see God more, see Him in spirit and truth, we are changed to become more like Him.

  2. "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers" (John 4:23).

    Worship - our active, right response to God's true person - inclines us to see God as He is.

  3. "Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship" (Romans 12:1).

    The spiritual service of real worship is caught up in active surrender - also called obedience.

  4. "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him" (John 14:21).

    Obedience, flowing from surrendered, active worship in truth, opens us up to experience and participate in God's love and behold Him as He truly is.

Jesus summarizes all this in John's gospel as follows:

"If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him" (John 12:26).
  • Life-giving obedience is about following Christ into loving service.
  • The life-giving motivation and reward of such action is that we might be more with Him.
  • The result is that the Father honors us... our experience of increased life in Him, the fruit of our transformation.
Therefore waiting to behold God so that we might be transformed requires us to actively move into the realm of obedient service.

Waiting on God, as a biblical concept, is about inclining ourselves to Him so that we might be more with Him in His person, position, and work. There are special times when God commands to do nothing; but more often are the innumerable biblical examples of waiting on God while serving Him.

When the children of God move into obedient service, they join with Christ where He is. It is the very criteria upon which we will be judged... Not our faithfulness in waiting and doing nothing, but rather our faithfulness in waiting on God while carrying out His command to lovingly serve (see the Matthew 25 parables).

I've not heard it better said than by Paul Hewson (U2's Bono) who explained at a Presidential prayer breakfast that, while God is everywhere, He is most certainly with the poor; and if we are with them, then He is with us.

When we are with God in such a combined waiting/serving reality, that's when we behold Him more as He truly is. That's when we are transformed to become more like Him. That's when we are empowered in new and radical ways... along the way - while we wait and obey and follow and serve and love and worship.

So in general, it strikes me as a profound truth that the Christian experience of waiting on God along with the fruit of it is accomplished on the way of obedient service.

No comments: