Apr 18, 2017

Is it Possible to Serve God Wrong?

The topic I am going to write about here is not one that I've mastered. This is a fairly new idea for me – a struggle that maybe you've never faced. Or perhaps it's something you're in right now and don't even realize it. But please don't just accept my ideas. Examine the Word of God and see if they apply to you in your own unique circumstances. That's all I ask.  =)

One of the blessings of living in the 21st century is that it is so easy to do things for God. Don't get me wrong – serving God can be one of the most difficult things you'll ever do. There's a good chance that He might ask you to do something that's painful or difficult. But think about it – we can share the Gospel without even leaving our homes. With access to the internet, the world of blogs, and social media, we can have best friends we've never met. That also means that we can pour out our lives into others in easier ways than ever before.

I love doing things at home. Thus, I have found myself in an ever-increasing amount of "ministries" online. I blog. I write. I email friends (saved and unsaved). I take online college classes. And I can serve in even more ways at home – being a good friend, sister, daughter. 

Is it possible that having the mentality of "give, give, give" can actually lead me away from Christ?

Oswald Chambers said,

"Christian work may be a means of evading the soul's concentration on Jesus Christ."

I think that sometimes we measure our level of faith by looking at the work we do for Christ. We serve in this way...and that way...and even that other way. We must be fantastic Christians!

Sorry to disappoint you: Our relationship with Christ is not measured by how much we do for Him.

My friend Jordy recently explained an aspect of life in this way. Too often we do things for God. We write blog posts...for God. We join ministries and share the Gospel...for God. These are good things! But how often do we serve...with God? With diligent prayer, seeking His face, and walking by His side? Do we serve in that way?

All this serving, this "give, give, give" attitude, has overwhelmed me. I serve God in so many ways. Doesn't that mean that my relationship with Him should be at its finest, shining for all the world to see?

Instead I'm tired. No, I'm exhausted. I've been living life for God instead of with God.

It reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10:38-42. Siblings were hosting an honored guest: Jesus Christ. As Jesus entered the house and began conversing with them, one sister sat by His feet, listening intently. Mary hung on to every word, treasuring them in her heart. The other sister – Martha – rushed to and fro preparing supper. Her serving made her lose sight of what was important. Instead of building a relationship with the King of Kings, she busied herself serving Him. In the end, it was Martha who was rebuked, not her "lazy" sister Mary.

But I've realized that so often we are like Martha. We are serving God when we could be living life with Him. 

Serving is a wonderful privilege. God wants us to be a blessing to others, share the Gospel, and bring hope to the hopeless! Doing that should bring us joy and excitement. But if you're burned out or feeling tired, perhaps it's because you've been serving God so much that you haven't taken the time to really get to know Who He is.

Sitting at Jesus' feet is more important than "making Him happy" by doing things for Him.

Remember what Samuel told Saul?

"Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice..." - 1 Samuel 15:22

And what did Jesus say was the most important commandment to obey?

"Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'" - Matthew 22:37

My question stands: Is it possible to serve God wrong? And my answer would be yes. If we are serving God instead of loving and building a relationship with Him, we are serving Him in the wrong way.

Dear friend, this is my plea for you and for myself. Don't let serving God overcome your desire to build a relationship with Him. Let us serve God with Him instead of for Him. Allow Christ to become your best Friend, the One you delight in.

How has God opened doors to serve Him and others? Do you find yourself doing things for God or with Him? How might one change their focus?  Comment below!


  1. Oh, yes; Mary and Martha! What a perfect example of living *with* God versus living for Him in our own strength. Because I'm sure that Mary served Jesus in practical ways at other times in her life, I think she just recognized, by God's grace, that in that particular instance it was more important for her to just sit, listen and be with Jesus. Then later she would be better equipped to serve *with* Him, too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! <3

    1. True, Jordy. Mary probably served Jesus behind the scenes, but she was able to balance that with loving and building a relationship. Perhaps this struggle is easier for some people depending on their personality. For me, I like to get things done and feel accomplished... so sitting down to have quality time can be hard sometimes. Perhaps Mary thrived on that though - just sitting by someone's feet listening to their conversation. Yet no matter what our personality, we need to overcome it and simply lean on Jesus and love Him. Do you think personality traits can come in the way sometimes? And how can we overcome them to focus on loving Jesus more and more?

    2. Wow, I'm sorry I haven't responded in almost a month! How did all these days slip by??

      Yes, I like to get things accomplished, too, whether it be through a to do list or just going to bed that night knowing that I've done at least a few important things.

      I'm sure I have personality traits that come between me and Jesus. My first thought is pride. But actually, I'm just not so sure when something is merely a potentially destructive personality trait and when it's outright sin. I don't think pride can ever be an innocent, harmless personality trait, can it? What are your thoughts?

    3. I completely understand! Time has been slipping by so quickly recently. =)

      That's hard...pride is a very difficult thing to categorize. It can seem like a personality trait, but I think it isn't. Perhaps certain traits tend to lead towards pride...such as being fearless and thinking you don't need God's help. But I think it is clear in the Bible that pride is sin. Writing it out as a harmless trait is dangerous ground. At least those are my thoughts. ;) Maybe it seems like pride comes naturally (and it often does), but it is sin and needs to be combated by humility and prayer. Do we cover up sin by calling it a personality trait? Ouch...

    4. Agreed. Besides, so many other sins come naturally, which makes sense given that our human nature has been corrupted by sin, and that the alternative to the natural is the supernatural, which is where God's help comes in. So I don't think that something (like pride) coming naturally is good grounds for defending it as an innocent personality trait.

    5. Exactly! I like how you worded that. Our whole nature is corrupted by sin (including pride), and we can't make excuses or name it as something other than sin. We are only saved by His grace. ♥

  2. This is a new idea for me... I love serving 'for' God, but I haven't really thought about serving 'with' God. I think that's a great perspective. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I'm thankful that this idea inspired you to think deeper, Sarah. =) I know that it's very easy to serve God without doing it in His power, timing, and way. It makes me wonder if that could be called serving at all? We need to be like Mary - living life with God instead of just for Him. Thanks for commenting, Sarah. =)


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