Last week I made the bold claim that knowing that God knows you love Him would amp up your Christian life. I explained this from Jesus’ reinstatement of Peter, but I feel it would be good for me to elaborate more.
God, Notice Me!
Early in my Christian life, I would do bold things for God. I went out at 2am to share Jesus with drug dealers at the beach. In college, I made a vow never to kiss a girl until we were engaged. Shortly after college, I heard of some people doing 40-day fasts, and I wasn’t going to allow someone be a better Christian than me.
None of these things were bad. In fact, they helped make me become who I am.
What I want to highlight from these experiences is that I was trying to get God to notice my devotion to Him. I wanted to impress God and have Him be proud of me. I didn’t think I was worthy of notice on my own, so I needed to find a way to stand out.
God, Notice Us!
The disciples had a similar problem. Two times in the Gospel of Luke, they fight over which one of them was the greatest (Luke 9:46-48; 22:24-27). Neither time does Jesus rebuke them, instead, He redirects their definition of greatness.
The first time, they had just returned from being sent out. They helped feed the 5,000, and three of them saw Jesus transfigured. They thought some of them surely stood out above the rest.
I Notice You – Now Serve
Jesus’ reply was that great deeds don’t make you great. If you want to be great, you need to be a servant.
He didn’t say you need to view yourself as unworthy of greatness. Sometimes we fall into the servant role because we don’t see value in ourselves. This was what I was doing early on.
The second argument between the disciples happened at the Lord’s supper. Jesus had just given the great example of servanthood by washing the disciples’ feet. He didn’t serve them because He thought Himself less than them. Knowing who He was and where He was going, He showed them the full extent of His love (John 13:1-3).
Serving Out of Love vs Serving For Love
- You don’t do miracles to make yourself great – you offer miracles to bring someone to God.
- You don’t do miracles only if you are good enough – you offer miracles because Jesus has sent you out.
- You don’t do miracles to prove your love for God – you offer miracles as an overflow of love for God and the other person.
- Miracles are not just for people who are worthy – miracles are offered as acts of service to others.
- Miracles are not dependent on your great love for God – miracles are dependent on your willingness to risk leaps of faith.
I used the word miracles here, but you can trade out anything you do for God. Teaching, making disciples, evangelizing, and doing acts of service can all be traded into these same statements.
Let us remove the burden of trying to prove our love for God because God knows you love Him. This gives us the freedom to serve not out of obligation but knowing we are already accepted.