December 22, 2011

God’s commitment to His servants

When the angel appeared to Joseph, he said, “Fear not.” When the same angel appeared to Mary, he said “Fear not.” This angel knew that the mighty work of God that was about to happen would be fearful for them. He also knew they would need God’s help as they served Him.

This morning’s devotional reading takes me to a reminder of the angel’s words to Mary and Joseph prior to the birth of Jesus Christ, and a reminder of what He does for those who serve Him.

You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:9–10)
Because of the grace and calling of God, and regardless of how little it seems that I do for Him, I am His servant. He has chosen me — to my continued astonishment. And He will not cast me off — to my continued gratitude.

As if this were not enough, He promises me that He will give me strength and help me to do as He asks. This God, who rules the universe and created all things, never asks His servants to produce, to work, to do anything, by ourselves. He knows our frame, that we are but dust. He knows that in myself, I can do nothing.

The very notion of being a servant of God and belonging to Him forever could create fear in my heart. If I thought I had to do it in myself, I would shake with terror. Perhaps at first, when I was a new Christian, I thought this would be nothing. I had much confidence in myself and my own abilities. However, He has taught me the reality of how useless the flesh is apart from regeneration and the power of the Holy Spirit. Serving God is a fearful thing to anyone who thinks they must do it by themselves.

God shows me that my own strength is not only useless but dangerous. I can ruin things, turn others from Christ, undo goodness and put my fleshy self into all endeavors. This might appear okay to others, but in myself I can only make a mess of the godliness He desires. I have learned to fear myself and certainly not to trust my own abilities. I know that apart from Jesus Christ, I can do nothing.

 Knowing I am a servant forever, no breaks or holidays or time out allowed is also a fearful thing. Yet a wise Christian once said that the Lawgiver on the throne becomes the Law-keeper in our hearts. Apart from the promise of God that He will uphold me with His righteous right hand and supply all I need, I could not stand one moment without Him, never mind a day or a year or an eternity.

Lord, Your requests to me are trivial compared to what You asked of Mary and Joseph, yet I am again humbled and astonished that You offer me the same resources as You offered them. You have designated me to be Your forever servant and promised Your help and strength so that I can do what You ask. You are utterly amazing! Thank You. 

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