Spiritual Success or Distress?

Important Note To Students And Teachers

The first quarter of this study focused you on Jesus. It challenged you to understand the meaning of the fact that Jesus came to be God's servant. The second quarter of this study focused you on the fact that Jesus makes us God's servants. That is the objective of conversion. That is the purpose of redemption. That is the result produced by forgiveness. That is the reason for being in God's family. Jesus saved us to serve God. He did not save us to be selfish, to be greedy, to be arrogantly self-reliant, to be pleasure seekers, or to be materialists. We are blessed with the gift of salvation so that we can be God's servants.

Good servants live surrendered lives. They exist each day to do the will and work of their master. They listen to his voice. They study their master's thinking and actions. They do his bidding. They serve his purposes. They adjust their lives to his will. A good servant lives to fulfill the dreams of his master. A good servant does not seek to satisfy his own timetable or preferences. To a good servant, the master is more important than he or she is.

A loving, benevolent master does not abuse his servants. He cares for their needs. He asks them to serve him in ways that are in their true best interests. He never knowingly puts their lives in jeopardy. He never knowingly wastes their lives or their time. He never asks them to make meaningless sacrifices. He always is concerned about their best interests. He increases the dignity and meaning of life. Serving him makes them better persons. Given any alternative, a good servant would choose to remain a good master's servant.

Christians converted to Christ live surrendered lives. They exist each day to do the will of God. They listen to God's voice. They study God's thinking and actions. They increase their understanding of God's thinking and actions by listening to and understanding Jesus. Just as Jesus did, they do God's bidding. They serve God's purposes. They adjust their lives in order to serve God's purposes. They live to fulfill God's dreams for mankind. They do not try to satisfy their own timetables and preferences. To the Christian, God is more important than he or she is. Yet, the more complete our surrender, the more worthwhile our lives become.

Our loving, benevolent God does not abuse us. He cares for our emotional, spiritual, and eternal needs. He always addresses our true best interests. He wants us to realize that we are eternal beings, and He never puts our eternal existence in jeopardy. He does not waste our lives or our time by requesting meaningless sacrifices. We can depend on His dedication to our eternal best interests. Serving Him increases the dignity and meaning of our lives. Serving Him makes us better persons living in improved relationships. Given any alternative, the person converted to Jesus would choose to serve God.

The man or woman who serves God through Jesus Christ chooses to give such service. He or she is a servant by choice. However, he or she must surrender to God if he or she is to serve God. One cannot be God's servant unless he or she chooses to serve.

Too many people in the church were baptized but never surrendered to God. They were baptized to become "members of the church" [a concept that originated outside the stated concepts of the Bible]. They have not surrendered to God by placing their faith in the crucified, resurrected Jesus [a concept stressed in the Bible]. Too many "attend church" to "maintain membership." Too few worship God and Christ. Too few surrender to serve God. This quarter's study focuses on what the New Testament says about the Christian surrendering to God. Surrendering to God is stressed throughout the Bible. It involves mind, heart, and body.

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