Serving or Loving?

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“Serve One another” Peter directed .(1 Peter 4:10) “Love one another.” Jesus commanded (John 13:34, John 15:17) and John repeatedly reminds us. (1 John 4:7, 2 John 1:5)

While It’s possible to serve people without loving them it’s virtually impossible to love people without serving them.

Love serves. Why? Because “Love does not seek it’s own. (1 Cor. 13:5) The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s selfishness!

This is why Paul writes  “Through love, serve one another” (Galatians 5:13)

The question is “Am I merely serving people or truly loving them?”

Jesus asked Peter the question three times: “Simon, Do you love me?” Each time, Simon Peter affirmed that he did love Jesus (even though it wasn’t with the highest type of love available). Each time, Jesus answered Peter’s affirmation with a call to serve: “Feed my sheep.”

If we love the Lord, one evidence should be that we serve His people.

Without realizing it, we can serve folks without really loving them. When that happens, our joy fades, our sense of privilege dissipates and our feeling of being unappreciated intensifies.

When Martha was serving the Lord and the guests within her home, she sensed that she was doing more than her fair share of the work. She was sure that she was being left with all the work while her sister Mary was being lazy and just enjoying the Lord’s Word.

Martha asked Jesus to take up her cause and speak to Mary about her failure. However, Jesus commends Mary’s choice to sit at His feet and listen and gently reproves Martha’s unloving busyness!

Do you delight in serving people and see it as a true privilege? Or has it become a routine, a responsibility, a duty? Our internal attitude towards what we are doing often is our first “red flag” that we have stopped loving and begun instead serving by “impulse power” rather than Spirit-infused love.

“So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.” (Gen 29:20)

Love oils the wheels of service.

“O, then I should just quit the ministry altogether.” you say. “I’m an unloving person and a hypocrite!” That’s exactly what the enemy would whisper into your ear and have echo inside your mind. Don’t buy it!

The answer isn’t to beat yourself up and condemn yourself. You need not resign serving as an usher or ministering in the nursery. No, the antidote is to confess it to the Lord and admit you are empty. That isn’t so much a sin as much as an admission that you simply need more of the One who, so loved, that he laid down His life for others.

The answer isn’t to disconnect yourself from people’s needs as much as it is to get yourself back under the faucet of God’s abundant supply of love. Jude writes “Keep yourself in the love of God.” Love for people comes from God not from somewhere within our self. Our job is to stay near enough to the source that we continually experience God’s heart for the needs of the people around us.

Jesus remains passionate about His bride and her needs. Just tell the Lord you need a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit who’s primary fruit is God’s agape love. Then watch, as He gives you renewed and enlarged capacities to love the people around you. When that happens, Spirit-filled serving will just begin to flow!

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