“…every where and in all things I am instructed”
There was an intensity in Paul to garner the wisdom of God in all things. He was alive and active in his walk with God. He learned because he wanted to learn from every situation. God speaks to us within our own hearts, He speaks through others who care about our progress in the Lord and also in the situations we encounter if we apply our hearts unto wisdom. A wise heart hears the words of others; they consider all things before God because they know that there is so much more in God than they presently see.
The mark of a true disciple is the intensity of heart to learn of their master.
“Therefore watch, remembering that for a period of three years I didn’t cease to admonish everyone night and day with tears”
The true servant of God knows the great battle between flesh and spirit. He is well aware of the weakness of the flesh to grow weary and to compromise. Paul is reminding the Elders of the Church at Ephesus of his own diligence to warn and admonish the believers when he lived among them. His life was an example to them that they must ever be alert and awake to the state of God’s people. We see no letup with Paul; his admonitions were accompanied night and day with tears; for he was filled with the love of God.
This gracious and all-pervading ministration which flowed from Paul was the true expression of one filled with the unction of the Holy Spirit! There was no room for the false comfort of the gospel of today. The fire burned, the admonition flowed.
In the Epistle to the Church at Rome Paul beseeches them to offer themselves unto God as a “living sacrifice”; he left no room for a nominal Christian experience. Beating within him was the insatiable desire to fully apprehend that for which God had so graciously apprehended him. His life burned with purpose and intent. The Christian life was a journey, not a one-time experience. It was a journey filled with temptation and great battles and storms. Yet in a corresponding measure it was also one of growth and glory. Admonition flows from a life which has seen and touched heavenly things.
The individual who has tasted of heavenly things will be in a relentless pursuit of the glory and honour of the One in whom they “live, move and have their being”.
Let us take note of this heart which beat within Paul. May there be a divine SELAH to allow the heart of Jesus to fill our own. Let the apathy of all that is around us be consumed by the passion and the ministration of the Holy Spirit.
“I didn’t cease to admonish everyone night and day with tears”
May we consider the “marks” of the true servant of God and feel anew that fire burning within our own being. Let “this mind be in you” as Paul admonished the Church of God at Philippi. May we know the same intensity and the same care and concern for God’s people that filled the early Church. Let us repent of the status quo and turn again unto the One who can ignite the human heart.
The heart of a true servant of God seeks to bring every life into the Kingdom and dominion of God. It will risk the disapproval of others in order to be pleasing unto God.
Admonition will be a mark of one who serves God in truth.
“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God”
True servants withhold nothing of God’s counsel for fear of losing the approval of men. They speak the truth because they love the truth. Within their hearts beats the singular desire to live unto the Lord alone. They seek His approval alone.
“But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God…”
2 Corinthians 6:4
To live unto Christ is to be free from the fear of man. Truth is the person and majesty of Christ Himself. This dynamic of His Life can only be known as we abide in Him. This ONE who purged the filth of man’s pollution from the Temple, also revealed the tenderness of mercy to the woman at the well; His Life cannot be held by the mere doctrines of men. The necessity of abiding in Him is what frees us to express Him in the moment, in the situation we are facing. It is the only means by which His Truth can be expressed! To speak of kindness when the Spirit of God seeks to confront a situation, is error. To speak judgment when God’s Spirit is soft and gentle is to miss Him grievously. A carnal concept of God has always been the bane of religion! To try and live by the precepts of Christ will inevitably end in failure and sin for we are to be in this world as HE IS in the moment.
Only His life can rightly express His heart. We are called unto a Life of abiding in Him to the intent that
“…as HE IS, so are we in this world”
1 John 4:17
The truth of our walk in Him must culminate in a life of abiding in Him. Present truth can only be known by those who live in the presence of God. As His Life becomes ours, we know the truth; His truth for the moment. Peter in dealing with Ananias and Sapphira did not violate the Love of God; He revealed it. Those who walk in a concept of the love of God will be offended by this expression of truth. Naaman the Syrian had a concept of how the Lord would heal him. Had it not been for the wisdom of one of his servants he would have missed God and remained a leper the rest of his life.
His prophets spoke the Word of the Lord to the situation they found themselves in. The Word spoken was present truth, The Word for His people in the Day in which they lived. It was not a random Word, pulled from history’s pages, but truth for moment.
“…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks…”
Yet in another day the word given was:
“Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears”
His Spirit will never violate the Word but it will breathe the life and wonder of God INTO His Word. Such enablement, grace and wisdom can only be known to those who abide in the ONE who is the sum of all Grace and Truth. Jesus did not come to expose the world to a new teaching or a new religious concept; He came to fill us with Himself. He did not come to give us A new life but to give us HIS Life that we might know the power of His indwelling word.
The “marks” (brands) of the true servant of God are those who withhold not His truth and counsel regardless of the “consensus” of men. Only as we are freed from self are we truly able to be His servant.
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ”
The true servant of God is one who is poured out in service to Christ. He seeks no following and does not desire the finances of this world. His only desire is to be true to the ONE who enlisted him into His service. Only then is he free enough to declare the whole counsel of God to his generation.
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ” ……………………………………. Romans 1:1 “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” .. James 1:1 “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ…. 2 Peter 1:1 “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ” ………………………………….. Jude 1:1
“For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God…”
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” John 15:4
The Marks of a True Servant is a series of writings revealing the tried and true character of Paul as he met with the Church at Ephesus for the last time. His life was the testimony of a man who had spent his life as a true bond-servant of Christ. May God complete His work in each one of us. Blessings to All who have made it their life purpose to serve and honour Him.