“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6–8).
WHEN WE SEEK GOD, WE MUST ALSO SERVE OTHERS. These two things are always tied together in the Scriptures. When Jesus was asked what was the most important part of the Law of Moses, He said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40).
And yet there is a problem, is there not? God is obviously worthy to be loved with all our hearts, but our fellow human beings are often unworthy. God, for example, has never done anything to harm us. He appreciates everything we do for Him. He acknowledges and reciprocates our love. Others, however, have hurt us, often without so much as an apology or an acknowledgment of the wrong. What we do for them is frequently met with criticism, rather than gratitude. And when we try to do good for others, we don’t always find good deeds coming back to us in return. Consequently, we give up. Or worse, we begin to attach self-protective “conditions” to our service. Or worst of all, we become secretly proud of ourselves for having served the “unworthy.”
Without question, there are many frustrating things that make it difficult to serve others. Satan will see to it that other lifestyles appear more easy and natural, and we’ll certainly not live lives of service if all we do is follow the course of least resistance. The truth is, doing both of these things — seeking God and serving others — requires that we overcome obstacles, push past resistance, and simply determine that we’re going to love God and help others. Self-sacrificial love is a choice, and making the choice takes more than a positive mental attitude. It takes keeping ourselves reverently and gratefully at the foot of the Cross, where our Lord determined to serve us — despite our resistance.
“Once we realize that Jesus has served us even to the depths of our meagerness, our selfishness, and our sin, nothing we encounter from others will be able to exhaust our determination to serve others for His sake” (Oswald Chambers).