Today we shall bring our series on Discipleship Habits to a close by discussing our responsibility to put them into practice because “each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Rom 14:12). While we do not have time to present an exhaustive study of this coming judgment, we shall take time to focus on three key areas: Love, Giving, and Service.
Responsible to Love
Genuine Christ followers are drenched in love. The world does not understand it and in fact hates it, but true followers of Jesus Christ are bathed in love and it oozes out of them onto all that they meet. This is because true Christians have become connected to the source of love—God—and have an ever-ready supply. Having been blessed in this astonishing way, we are called to share this love and held accountable to love God and love others.
Love God. In response to a question regarding the greatest commandment of the Law, Jesus replied: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matt 22:37-38). Christians must remember that everything we do must be motivated by our love for God. He is our Creator, Ruler, Sustainer, and Provider. The Bible tells us that “we love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Love Others. Jesus, in His response about the great commandment, continued by saying: “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt 22:39-40). Jesus intentionally mentioned this second commandment because our love for others is evidence of our love for God. The Apostle John wrote: “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). John also wrote: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
Responsible to Give
Because Christians love, they are dedicated to giving. Did you know that you are not your own but you were bought with a price (1 Cor 6:20)? Did you know that you are not an owner of anything but a manager of all you have? This motivates Christians to be giving rather than hoarding. Did you know that one day give an account of how much you did or did not give of your time, talent, and treasure?
Give Time. We always make time for what is important. If we determine something is important we will make time for it. If you believe that God is most important, then you will give all of your time to God as a “living sacrifice” (Rom 12:1). This means you are diligent to give your schedule to God and ask Him to fill in the appointment and set the agenda.
Give Talent. We have been created, designed, and gifted by God for His glory and our good. Each of us have been given talents and gifts are expected to use them. If you use your talent for God’s glory then you will be blessed, but if you do not use your talent for God’s glory then you will be disciplined (Matt 25).
Give Treasure. Every dollar that you have in your possession has been given to you by God. He is the rightful owner and He has given it to you to manage. Christians, according to the Bible, are not owners of their money and possessions but managers. As managers of God’s resources we will one day give an account of what we did with it.
Responsible to Serve
Because Christians love, they are dedicated to giving and serving. You are not a king to be served but a servant who serves.
Serve; Not Served. Jesus Christ’s ministry is summarized in Matthew 20:28, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” We are called to imitate our Lord and remember that we are here on this earth to be servants and not kings. Sometimes I think that the world would be a much better place if everyone did what I wanted them to do. But that attitude indicates that I want to be the king. Jesus tells us that we should not strive to be the greatest but the least (Luke 22:26). We should devote ourselves to serving others out of love for them and in order to lead them to Christ.
If Christians would devote themselves to: 1) loving God and others, 2) to giving their time, talent, and treasure for God’s glory and the benefit of others, and 3) serving others; we would see a revival in this country. I can say that with 100% assurance because this is what God calls His children to do while we are here in this world.
The question is: “Will we obey God and put it into practice and see revival?” or “Will we continue to love ourselves, seek our own selfish gain, and see a continual moral decay all around us?”