Gathering Together

          Soul Service

2011

 

By Lee Merrill

 

 “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do.”

Ephesians 6:7-8 (NIV)

         

Devotion:

Why do you do the things you do?

 

The question bounced around the walls of my confused heart and landed with a thud.

 

Every act of service I perform is a tug-of-war in my heart. I re-took the Five Love Languages quiz the other day, and once again, my score on “words of affirmation” was a landslide winner. Yes, I enjoy physical touch, gifts, acts of service, and quality time, but sincere words of affirmation make my heart flutter like a puppy love crush.

 

As much as I hate to admit it, the appreciation, affirmation, and accolades of people means more to me than the approval of God.

 

I don’t want to be this way. I want the honor of my Savior, who sacrificed everything for me, to be the motive behind every, single thing I do!

 

In Ephesians 6, the apostle Paul implores us to serve wholeheartedly as if we are serving God rather than men.

 

My pastor calls it “soul service.” Good works born from the deepest place of our souls where only God’s pleasure matters.

 

How can I push past self service and dig deep into soul service?

 

Speak honestly to God. Lord, my mind is consumed with what others think; I want Your honor and pleasure to matter most. Please, forgive me and change my mind.

 

Order the selfish motives to get lost in the name of Jesus! I refuse to spoil this act of service by settling for mere human approval. In the name of Jesus, I command the spirit of selfishness to get out of my head and my heart!

 

Understand things won’t change without a fight. The evil one has won lots of skirmishes in my people pleasing heart. It will take repeated, deliberate truth pursuit before I will experience heart change.

 

Lean on the strength of God. In my own strength, I will never overcome my natural bent toward people pleasing, but “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!” (Philippians 4:13)            

Dear Lord, I want every good thing I do to be a love song from my soul to Your heart. I’m tired of settling for the fleeting approval of people. I refuse to short-change myself another day. Give me the strength and determination to speak truth and banish lies as many times as it takes for my self service to become soul service. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps: 

Is people pleasing stealing your joy of service?

 

Admit your struggle to the only one who can change your heart—Jesus.

 

Be willing to let Him do whatever it takes to transform your service from self service to soul service.

 

Reflections: 

Are you tired of settling for less than God desires for you?

 

Are you ready to say bye-bye to self service and to embrace soul service?

 

Power Verses:

I Peter 4:11 “If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” NIV

Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” NIV