Is serving God your obligation or passion?
I was sitting alone in a hotel room in Rome, thinking to myself, “Why am I here?” I grew up believing that in order to be a good Christian, I needed to do certain things. I believed my value was based in what I did for God. Then, God changed my heart. He began to show me what it meant to truly love Him and let that love motivate me to act.
I had committed to a mission trip, which included a week of training in Rome, then two weeks of service in Birmingham, England. In the middle of the week of training, I began to doubt my own intentions. As I prayed for clarity, God gave me Acts 4:20, which affected me deeply: “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
The early Christians were not motivated by obligation. They did not live their lives based on a rigid set of rituals. The early followers of Christ were compelled by something much more significant. Many had been in the presence of God in the form of the man, Jesus Christ. They had seen things they could not reason away. The sick had been healed. The dead had been raised. They had experienced a love and a power they had never felt before ― and they could not stop talking about it, even at the threat of imprisonment or death.
If any of us feel like our devotion to God is based on ritual or if we are trying to gain God’s favor by doing something for Him, we’ve got things upside down. We shouldn’t have to ask why we are doing what we are doing if our motivation is love ― for God, and for others.
Lord, why do I serve you? Search my heart and change me if my motivation is wrong. Let me never do anything to earn your love because I already have it. May I never serve from a need for recognition or out of obligation. Help me know you and serve out of the overflow of your love. Amen.
Go deeper ― Read the entire story of Peter and John’s arrest and inquiry before the Jewish council in Acts 4. Notice that in verse 29 they did not pray for protection, but for more boldness!
Photo Credit: Nick Tong