Spiritual Success or Distress?

Important Note To Students And Teachers

This quarter's lessons will complete a year's focus on a basic reality of Christian existence: we are God's servants. Our study was intentionally organized to follow this progression. The first quarter we studied Jesus. The quarter's study was focused on understanding Jesus, not on seeking applications. It had a specific objective: to understand that Jesus was a servant. He came to be God's servant. He lived as God's servant. As God's servant, He dedicated himself to God's purposes. As God's servant, he dedicated himself to people. He died as God's servant. He was resurrected Lord and Christ, but he lived and worked as God's servant.

The second quarter's study focused us on the fact that Christians are God's servants. In a specific manner, doing God's will should mean to us what it meant to Jesus. Jesus lived and died doing God's will, not his will. Christians live and die doing God's will, not their will. Doing God's will requires us to be God's servants. Jesus is our example. He modeled servitude to God. We understand the meaning of serving God by understanding Jesus as God's servant.

The third quarter focused on this simple truth: a good servant surrenders life to his master. When we accept God as our Master, we choose to surrender to God. Our goal is willing surrender to God's purposes, not resistance to God's purposes. The better we know and understand God's will, the better we can devote ourselves to His purposes. We seek to be informed to serve better.

This quarter we focus on this truth: God's servant serves God's purposes with his or her whole existence. While the servant worships God, the servant will not substitute a few hours of worship a month for his or her whole life service to God. Christian worship thanks and honors God. Worship renews the Christian to rejuvenate his or her service. While the servant studies the Bible, he or she will not substitute a few hours of Bible study a month for his or her whole life service to God. The purpose of his or her study is to prepare self to live daily life in God's ways. Study equips one to serve.

"Whole life service?" What is that? "Whole life service" simply means the Christian deliberately uses every aspect of existence to serve God's purposes. The Christian man or woman uses rational thought, emotion, understanding, wisdom, experience, mental strength, emotional strength, physical strength, opportunity, hardship, vision, adversity, material prosperity, poverty, and every aspect of life's realities in service dedicated to God's objectives while pursuing God's purposes.

Stated simply, Christians seek to live and function as God's stewards. This quarter we will explore the concept of a steward while we seek accurate insights into the life of God's steward.

Why devote a year's study deliberately pursuing this progression? Servants (as those in the New Testament) do not exist in American culture. This role does not exist in our society. It is not a reality in our "now" world experience. We understand the meaning of service when we understand Jesus as a servant. Only then can we be God's servants. An accurate understanding of the meaning of service to God equips us to grasp "whole life service."

Failure to follow that progression to an accurate understanding of God's servant produces a horrible result. Our discussions focus on what we regard as "reasonable," and not on the purposes of God. The Christian who focuses Christianity on self is not God's servant.

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