1 Peter 1:12
It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
The Serving Saints of Old
We might not think about it, but these Old Testament saints were not really serving themselves but God, and they served us indirectly, although much later. They too preached the good news by the Spirit of God, although it was somewhat cloaked in mystery at the time. The message of faith in God is as old as the book of Genesis where Abraham believed God and God declared Him righteous (Gal. 3:6; Rom. 4:3). When Peter was writing in 1 Peter chapter one, who were the “they” he was writing about? They were the prophets who were prophesying about the grace that was to come (1 Pet. 5:10) and the suffering that the Messiah would endure (1 Pet. 5:11). These prophets served out of a selfless ambition, and their motive was to glorify God and not themselves.
Whom Are We Really Serving?
If we examine whom we are serving, we are serving the saints in the church, yes. But the bottom line is we are really serving Christ, and that will be from Whom we will receive our reward (Col. 3:24). Paul’s motivation was to serve the Lord and Him alone, for that is Who called him into this ministry, and that was his attitude even through the tears and trials (Acts 20:19). Even Jesus, Who is the Son of God, didn’t come to be served, even though He deserved to be because He is a king. Instead, He came humbly and to serve others by giving His own life as a ransom for those who have trusted in Him (Mark 10:45). That was His attitude and motivation for coming: to redeem us, who deserved God’s wrath.
The Mind of Christ
If we examine the mind of Christ by His service and sacrifice, we can see that He came with the same attitude we are told to have (Phil. 2:5). The Great God, Jesus Christ, descended to our level and now calls us His friend (John 15:15). What motivates friends to serve? It is purely out of a brotherly or sisterly love for their friends. There is usually no hidden motive when we serve those in the body of Christ and those we love, and our attitude is typically the attitude that Christ had, or at least should be. I know my own heart is deceitful, and I know my own motives and attitude are anything but always pure, but I strive to have Christ’s mind and am constantly examining my intents. Am I doing things of service for my own interests? Surely I am at times, no doubt, but unless I have Jesus’ own mind, I cannot really serve with an attitude or motive of the love of God.
A Closing Prayer
My Father, please forgive me when I have tried to serve others out of a purely selfish motive and not for the right reason, which is to glorify You and to be part of the body of Christ–Your hands, Your feet, Your mouth, Your ears. Forgive me where I fall very short in these areas, and in Jesus’ name I pray.
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