Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Serving God with a Whole Heart

Lynn, at Spiritually Unequal Marriage, is hosting Thankful Thursday this week. She chose obedience as the theme.

One of the ways we can be obedient to God is to serve Him with our whole heart. I am thankful for the opportunity to put forth my best foot in trying to be obedient to Him this way.

Paul, in his desire to visit the Romans, penned these words…

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.”
~ Romans 1:8-10 (Emphasis, mine)

What does serving God with a whole heart, living our faith out loud, involve? To me, it involves dying to self daily, and making our faith walk and talk.

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” ~ Galatians 5:16
Living in the flesh, or sinful nature, is something I did for years before I began living life by the Spirit. My earthly/fleshly body is about 16 years older than the new creation I became when I became saved. Living in the flesh has far more experience on me than living in the Spirit does.

Life by the Spirit is something I am maturing into. It’s a growing process that I’m learning to live. A number of years after I came to a saving knowledge of Christ, I lived an on-again off-again relationship with Him. It is only in recent years that I have had the true desire, the true calling, to serve my Savior faithfully and wholeheartedly. I finally realized that I was called into this life of having my heart beat to serve my Savior daily.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” John 15:16

God chooses us and appoints us to live lives worthy of Him, and He calls us to bear fruit. He chooses people who have a will to serve Him, who have a vision to serve Him, and those who are filled with His Holy Spirit - those who will serve Him wholeheartedly.
When we serve Him wholeheartedly, we live the faith He desires us to live out loud in our daily lives.

So what about this business of serving Him wholeheartedly, of living our faith out loud? What does serving God with a whole heart involve? And how do I serve with my whole heart?

For me, it begins with a life of PRAYER.

P - Prayer - do I pray about what I am to do for Him, what He wants me to do rather than following my own will? “But I cry to you for help, O LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you.” - Psalm 88:13

R - Respect - do I have a proper respect for God, admitting His holiness and sovereignty in my life? “O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. - Isaiah 37:16

A - Able - do I believe that He is able to teach me and direct me in the way that I should go? “This is what the LORD says - your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” Isaiah 48:17

Y - Yes - am I always willing to say, “Yes,” to God and “No,” to self? “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” - Luke 9:25

E - Equip - am I equipped to serve Him? Have I spent time in His Word, learning all I can about servitude? “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” - Psalm 119:105

R - Reliance - do I rely on Him or on others as I serve Him? “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” - Joshua 24:15

What other verses come to mind for you as you think of each of the truths for this acrostic?

Do you serve God wholeheartedly? Are you ready to make that commitment if you’re not?

It is my desire that I serve Him wholeheartedly, and that I begin to do it afresh today.

We can find a great example of obedience in Luke.

He had fished all night and didn't catch a thing. He was a fisherman by trade. He knew the water. But he also knew his Savior. "But because you say so..." Simon listened to the Savior and *together* they caught so many fish the nets began to break. Had to have help to haul them all in.
He was willing. Willing to have obedience, faith, honor and love. May I be as obedient, faithful, honoring and loving as Simon Peter was, and simply respond to Christ with, "But because you say so, I will do it."
One of the markers of obedience to God is serving Him wholeheartedly.
Simon didn't have to re-cast the net. He could have said, "Lord, what about just using a pole? I'm so tired after fishing all night and not getting so much as a nibble."
Because he respected Jesus and knew that there was a lesson to be learned, he moved in obedience to the command of the Lord. He had ever reason to pack up and call it a night, but he obeyed with his whole heart.
We have the opportunity to do that, friends. I am so thankful for the privilege to serve God in obedience, even when I've "fished all night and haven't caught a thing." Are we willing to listen for His voice and do what He tells us?
I pray that we will all be thankful for the privilege to serve the God who saved us when we could not save ourselves.

This was a post that I originally did as a guest post for Laced With Grace a while back and another post I did on obedience last July. I apologize for the re-run (I did edit it to include some new thoughts), but I thought it fit appropriately here. Also, I am crazy busy today and let time get away from me last night on posting for today.

For more Thankful Thursday posts, and to link up and share your own, visit Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage by clicking on the button below.


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12 comments:

LAURIE said...

Serving God WHOLEHEARTEDLY is exactly my prayer for my life. Sometimes being obedient can come easy and at other times it is difficult. But God never promised that this life would be pain free but the benefits of serving Him sure are magnificient! Happy TT! -Laurie

Denise said...

Such an awesome thankful post, love you.

He And Me + 3 said...

I want to serve God wholeheartedly. That to me means taking up my cross and leaving everything behind and following Him. Sometimes easier said than done. But I press on.

Angela said...

pray that we will all be thankful for the privilege to serve the God who saved us when we could not save ourselves.
amen amen amen

Melanie said...

This is so want I want, Laurie Ann.... to serve God wholeheartedly!

Jennifer said...

Laurie Ann, this was such a motivating and challenging post. I desire to serve God with my whole heart, but do I do it? The acrostic is one that is full of questions that I need to ask myself daily. I have to work hard at separating myself from all the distractions life offers me daily and make time to focus on Him.

Thank you for always sharing your heart and doing it so beautifully!

Love you, my friend!

Lynn said...

Hi Laurie Ann,

Girl.... I loved this post. It especially spoke to me. I want to live by the spirit and feel like I am at war with the flesh.

You words have encouraged me to say - No Compromise.

thank you my friend. I am always encouraged when I stop in and sit with you for awhile. Love and hugs.

Jerralea said...

Thanks for reminding me of John 15:16. I am chosen to bear fruit! I love it!

Great job as always, Laurie Ann. I'm thinking of calling you Acrostic Lady. :)

Seeking Grace on the Narrow Path said...

Please stop by my site Laurie Ann. I have an award for you!
Love,
Bren

God Chaser said...

We are all jewels in progress-growing into living by the Spirit, obediently following the voice of God- I love the scripture about Peter- I have learned we have to cast on the right side of the boat-Christ is alwas on the "righte"ous side. I am glad the Spirit of the Lord placed upon your heart to report-for I missed them both the first time, and I would have missed a blessing as always. Thank you and blessings as you progress toward the prize.

Seeking to live my faith outloud!
Willnette

Pia said...

prayer is a lot of different things to us. i thank the Lord that we can talk to Him everyday, anytime.

Bonnie said...

What an awesome and convicting post. Do I serve God with my "whole heart?" Thank you for it...it may be a re-run but it's a good one (and it's my first read. :)) Blessings!