We may desire to do many things for God, we may have the ability to carry them out, and there may be a real need for these works; but unless God is the source and initiator of the work, whatever we do is of the flesh (the “spiritual” and “good” flesh that tries to please God) and it is not accepted by God.
Much such work for God has been done throughout the ages, and the name of the Lord has been very much opposed and put through the mud because “zealous Christians” did “great works” for God yet without taking God as the source.
Like our father Abraham, we need to believe in God as the unique source; He is the One who calls the things not being as being. We need to know God as the Father, that is, know that God is the source, the unique Initiator, and that everything originates from Him and proceeds out from Him.
If we see that God is the source, all our work and service in the church will be originated and initiated by God and not by ourselves, and it will be according to His desire. Anything that is initiated or started by man, regardless of how much it is for God, is a mere religious activity.
In God’s eyes much religious activity is taking place on earth, activity in which believers do things “for God” yet without taking God as the source.
May we be those who receive mercy from the Lord to learn to STOP all our opinions, decisions, and ideas, and simply let God speak, come in, and command.
May we learn to exercise our spirit and stop our natural being, realizing that we are not qualified to initiate anything for God but we should intimately fellowship with Him and be in a close contact with the Body of Christ so that, whatever we do for the Lord would have God as the source.
In the matter of serving God, we as believers in Christ and seekers of God need to learn to STOP ourselves and give God the absolute opportunity to speak.
As those who Serve the Lord we need to See that our Service must Originate from God
We may think that as long as we serve God, we are alright, and as long as we don’t cause problems but our service is according to God’s will and we help others, we are doing fine. But according to God’s standard, our service needs to originate from God in order to be accepted by God, be pleasing to Him, and be for the building up of the church.
Isaiah was a man of unclean lips; he needed God’s purification, and when God called, Whom should I send, who will go for Us? Isaiah answered, Here I am, Lord, send me! (see Isa. 6:1-10) It wasn’t Isaiah who initiated his service: it was God who first caused him to see how unclean he is, purified his lips, and called him to the service.
As we open to the Lord, taking Him as our source and allowing Him to purify us inwardly, we can be the ones sent by God for His heart’s desire.
In the case of the apostle Paul, he used to ravage the church of God and put in prison the believers in Christ, and this he considered to be his service to God; in his service to God, Saul opposed God, attacked Him, damaged His interest, and was completely against the Lord.
But through his conversion experience, Paul opened to the Lord and saw the vision of the age; based on his seeing, he cooperated with the Lord and took Him as his source in his service (see Acts 9:3-6, 15-16; 26:18).
It is vitally crucial for us to realize that our service for the Lord should originate from Him and not from us; we need to be enlightened inwardly to the point that we will not initiate anything in the matter of serving God.
May the Lord have mercy on us and shine on us and give us the experiences we need so that we, like many of His genuine servants before us, would take Him as the source of our service.
In the Old Testament David realize that he could not initiate anything in the service of God only after Uzzah was struck by God (see 2 Sam. 6:6-8). If we are enlightened inwardly by the Lord and see that our service must originate from God, we will NOT dare to initiate anything related to the service of God.
Paul had the response of death within himself, basing his confidence not on himself but on God who raises the dead (2 Cor. 1:9), and his sufficiency in serving God was not of himself but of God, and he didn’t count himself as anything but sought God’s glory and His interest (2 Cor. 3:5).
In our service to the Lord we must have a definite experience and come to a clear point of being enlightened by the Lord to see that our service must be of God and not of ourselves; when we have such a realization, we will take God as the source of our service, and all things will be from Him, through Him, and unto Him (Rom. 11:36). Amen.
Our service to God must be of God and not of ourselves. When He is the source of our service, He gets all the glory!
Lord Jesus, enlighten us inwardly to see that our service must originate from God and not be initiated by ourselves. Amen, Lord, our service MUST be of God and not of ourselves! Save us from initiating things in Your service. Keep us in our mingled spirit, intimately connected to You and taking You as the source of our service. Lord, may we have this light so that there would be a breakthrough in our being regarding service. May You get all the glory, and may all things we do be out of God, through God, and unto God!
How can we Discern whether our Service is from us as the Source or from God?
This whole week we have been under the Lord’s shining concerning serving God by taking God as the source, and this question has been in me during this whole time: How can we discern whether our service is from us as the source or from God?
We may not be as bold and presumptuous as to initiate a great work for God, but we do many things here and there for the Lord – how can we tell whether these things, these works, are of God as the source or they are out of us?
I don’t presume to know the answer, but by reading the word of God and by getting into the ministry, we can get some indications on whether our service is from us or from God.
Many times our work for God is based on our opinion, which is the expression of the self; our opinion may not be bad but on the contrary, it may be the best idea in our own eyes, but unless it is from God and it is in the Body, it is something apart from God.
When we give our opinion, we initiate something, we enjoy it, and we like it; what we do will bear our flavor and will be our boast. When a service is initiated by us according to our good and spiritual opinion, often our enjoyment, preference, and boast are associated with it, and we love it and feel good about it.
When we encounter problems and difficulties in the work we initiate for God according to our own opinion, we often become upset and even offended, especially when our service and work are ruined and overthrown.
But when our service and work originate from God and difficulties come, we are one with the Lord and we simply worship Him, knowing that it is from Him and He is in control.
Moreover, there is other indirect evidence that shows whether a work is of God. If a certain work is not of God, the brothers and sisters often are not willing to carry it out. However, if a certain work is of God, the brothers and sisters are able to labor together. This is very good, but even if the brothers and sisters have some difficulty in laboring together, this is not necessarily a problem, because the work is not their responsibility. Those who are sent by the Lord are often quite patient. When a person is doing his own work, he will be anxious for success, but if he is doing the Lord’s work, he will not be anxious, because it is the Lord’s business. If we want to determine whether a person’s work is of God or of himself, we only need to see if he is anxious in the work. If a person’s work is according to God’s sending, the sent one will not be anxious, and there will not be many opinions. Witness Lee, Knowing Life and the Church, pp. 203-205
Oh, may the Lord have a clear way to shine on us and expose our opinions, the expression of the self, and may we be willing to cooperate with the Lord to DROP our opinions, learn to fellowship with the Lord and with the saints in the Body, and simply follow the Lord’s leading!
May we take the way of fellowship with the Lord and with the saints, being in our spirit and in coordination with the other members of the Body, so that we would NOT initiate any work for God but take Him as the source in our service to God.
Lord Jesus, is our service to God out of us or out of God as the source? Oh Lord, save us from expressing and insisting on our opinions in our service to God. Save us from going ahead and doing things for God according to our opinions, without taking God as the source and without fellowshipping with the saints in the Body. Keep us in our spirit and keep us in fellowship with the saints so that we may be saved from our opinions, take God as our source, and serve out of God, through God, in God, and unto God!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message for this week, and Knowing Life and the Church (pp. 201-207, by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Service for the Building up of the Church (2016 Spring ITERO), week 4 / msg. 4, The Service that is from God.
- All Bible verses are taken from, Holy Bible Recovery Version.
- Hymns on this topic:
# O use me, Lord, use even me, / Just as Thou wilt, and when, and where, / Until Thy blessed face I see, / Thy rest, Thy joy, Thy glory share! (Hymns #903)
# Not where we elect to go, / But where Jesus leads the way, / There the living waters flow, / There our darkness turns to day. / Not our self-appointed task / Will the Lord’s approval win, / But the work we did not ask, / Finished humbly, just for Him. (Hymns #907)
# Of the teachings we’re bereft, / All opinions we have left, / Spirit from the soul is cleft, / In the local churches now. / Hallelujah! Hallelujah! / We are all in one accord / For the building of the Lord. / Hallelujah! Hallelujah! / We are living in the local churches now! (Hymns #1251)