Adoration Is Better Than Service
I grew up in a Christian family, attending a Christian church that my father pastored, and attending a Christian private school for my entire life. Growing up immersed in a Christian culture I was not only surrounded by the truth of the Bible, but also by doctrines and understanding of man. We don't always realize that we are partnering with perspectives and understandings that seem right but are in the end false. Once of those perspectives is that God demands that we serve Him.
I struggled for most of my life with the pressure of having to be "good enough for God". Whether it be in daily devotional time, commitment to Bible reading, serving others, evangelizing, or whatever else, there was always this pressure to make sure I was "doing it right". Let me get something straight. The fear of the Lord is important. In fact the Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). But it doesn't mean to be afraid of God. The fear of the Lord is the honor and respect we give to God. If God wanted us to be afraid of Him, then He would have never told us to come boldly before Him (Hebrews 4:16). But growing up in Christian culture I found that most believers, whether they fear (are afraid of) God or not, actually fear failing God. We fear that we are not enough.
I find that when we live with this perspective the end result is one of two things. Either one we continue to do our best to serve God but from a place of low esteem and confidence, or two we turn away from God because the pressure of trying to be good enough for Him is too great. I find most experience the latter.
What I have learned in the last few years of my life is that God doesn't require, or even expect our perfection. He actually doesn't require our service either. What He desired most is our adoration. Not because He needs us to stroke His ego, as if He had one. He desires to see us fall in love with Him and adore Him because in that place we are soft and moldable and easier for Him to work with.
There's a beautiful story in the gospels that reveals God's heart for lovers and not servants. We find it in Luke 10.
"38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
In this story Martha did what she felt best. She did what she knew to do. She did what was culturally appropriate and expected. She served Jesus as her guest. On the contrary, Mary broke the cultural rules. To some, or maybe many, Mary would have been viewed as disrespectful, lazy, disgraceful, and maybe many more negative things. Yet to Jesus she was honored as not only doing a good thing, but choosing the best thing.
According to Jesus there is only one thing that is required of us. He requires that we sit at His feet in adoration and listen to Him. That is it. When we learn to worship Jesus and sit with Him regularly, then He forms His very nature in us. When our greatest priority is being intimate with God, then we naturally become His hands and feet in service to others around us. When we abide in the Father's love, we become His heart to the world. Serving because easy. Sacrifice becomes easy. We begin bearing more fruit of the Spirit in our lives. It just happens. It's a bi-product of being with Him!
So I encourage you today, stop trying to do things for God and focus on simply being with Him. Drop the pressure of trying to be good enough for God through service. Instead learn to find joy that you please Him most when you simply love Him and spend time with Him. Prioritize having quiet time reading the Word, worshipping, praying, and sometimes just being silent before Him. You will see how gentle and kind He is. You will find so much more peace and joy knowing you are His. After all, eternal life is not eternity in heaven. Eternal life is actually knowing Him (John 17:3).