As ﬂeshly humans, our natural tendency is to take care of our own needs ﬁrst. We like to make sure there is plenty of time for the things we want to do. Then if we have any time or energy left over, we might be willing to use it to serve someone else.
But in following after God’s own heart, you and I need to resist these selfish tendencies and strive instead to see ourselves as servants. In fact, in the Bible, we see many of the Old Testament’s faithful described as servants. God spoke of Abraham as His servant (Genesis 26:24). Joshua was called “the servant of the LORD” at his death (Joshua 24:29). And David, too, was called “my servant” by God (2 Samuel 7:5). In the New Testament we see that godly men were chosen by the church in Jerusalem to serve the physical needs of the widows (Acts 6:1-6). And the apostle Paul referred to himself as a servant of God (Romans 1:1).
The Lord Jesus Christ is, of course, our supreme example. He is our model of what it means to be a servant. Jesus said of Himself, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28, emphases added). This Christmas season ultimately celebrates not the story of a baby born in a manger, but of the God of all creation humbling himself to become our redeemer (Philippians 2:3-8).
Read through these verses about Jesus and think about any changes you need to make in your life so that you, like Jesus, can better assume the role of a servant. As you cultivate a servant heart, you’ll ﬁnd yourself wanting to love and serve your family, your church, and others. I’ve altered the format of these verses (Philippians 2:3-8) so that the various elements of a servant’s heart are more obvious:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Question: What are some ways you’ve recently reached out to serve and help other people? What ways can you do so in the coming year?
For more about encouragement for husbands read, A Husband After God’s Own Heart.