Once “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,” we deliberately begin to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ’s interests and purposes in others’ lives (Romans 5:5). And Jesus has an interest in every individual person. We have no right in Christian service to be guided by our own interests and desires. In fact, this is one of the greatest tests of our relationship with Jesus Christ. The delight of sacrifice is that I lay down my life for my Friend, Jesus (John 15:13). I don’t throw my life away, but I willingly and deliberately lay it down for Him and His interests in other people. And I do this for no cause or purpose of my own. Paul spent his life for only one purpose— that he might win people to Jesus Christ. Paul always attracted people to his Lord, but never to himself. He said, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22)
There are certainly times we need to get alone with God, but if we believe to develop a godly life we must always be alone with God, then we become of little use to others. Isolating our walk from God from our normal life and work is like putting yourself on a pedestal—isolating yourself from the rest of society.
Surrendered to Jesus
Paul was a godly person, but wherever he went Jesus was always allowed to participate in Paul’s life. Too often we are interested only in our own goals, and as a result, Jesus cannot help Himself to our lives. But if we totally surrender to Him, we have no goals of our own to serve. Paul said that he knew how to be a “abase” without resenting it, because the motivation of his life was devotion to Jesus. We tend to be devoted not to Jesus, but one of two things; to a task that serves God’s purposes or to the things which allow us more spiritual freedom than total surrender to Him would allow. Neither a task, nor freedom motivated Paul. In fact, he stated, “I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren . . .” (Romans 9:3). Had Paul lost his ability to reason? No, definitely not! For someone who is in love, there are no sacrifices too great for the one you love. This is no overstatement. This reflects Paul’s love for Jesus.
Though Paul often describes himself as a slave of Jesus, he loved his Master so deeply that his service to Him was pure delight.
PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.