Monthly Archives: January 2017

12 Ways to Know When Our Serving is Sinful

One of my favourite passages from Paul is Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

As humans, we were created to serve one another in love, and as followers of Christ we are new creations in Christ, and both commissioned and gifted to serve.  However, sometimes our serving can be sinful. The following are 12 ways we can tell:

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1. When we’re doing it for purely selfish motives (although we can’t ever be completely unselfish in our motives).

2. When we become irritable or frustrated when our plans are interrupted or changed.

3. When we haven’t left enough of a margin in our schedule to allow for unexpected interruptions (often God is working in these interruptions if we have eyes to see it).

4. When we complain (or boast) about being so busy that our family life suffers.

5. When our family life suffers, even when we don’t complain or boast about it.

6. When our health suffers, from stress or not getting enough sleep because of it.

7. When we take on jobs or projects not because we genuinely want to or feel God leading us to (or our boss tells us to!), but because no one else will do it or we think no one else is as qualified.

8. When we take on jobs or projects but feel resentful about it or like a martyr doing it.

9. When we take on jobs or projects because we think God will be more pleased by us or will love us more if we do.

10. When we take on jobs or projects because we want to impress or please people.

11. When we’ve bought into the lie that we need to be always doing or producing (or consuming!) to be considered valuable or worthy of love or acceptance.

12. Finally, when we’re doing it in our own strength instead of in God’s strength. “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jer. 2:13).

Sometimes we make ourselves overly busy because we don’t want to face deeper issues in our lives, and busyness, like other forms of distraction, postpone us from having to deal with them. Or sometimes it’s because we don’t want face God Himself – being alone with Him with nothing else to get in the way.

But God never intended that we extend ourselves so much that it becomes detrimental to our emotional, spiritual, or physical health. And He has gifted us for some jobs, but not all of them.

Are you over-committed at church or at work or in the community? You might actually be displeasing God, and it’s worth not taking this consideration too lightly. Spend some time alone and in silence, and before God see if any of reasons describe you.

Did I miss any reasons? What would you say are the reasons when serving is pleasing to God?

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Reading the Psalms

This past weekend, we had a workshop at my church on different ways to read the Bible and how to lead a Bible study, and one of the handouts was a reading plan for the Psalms, taken from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

The Psalms were both the prayer book and hymnal of Judaism and for the Church up until relatively recently. They are words from people to God, and words to people about God. They help us to worship honestly – in both the good times, and those times when we feel like God has abandoned us (Jesus Himself prayed from Psalm 22:1 on the cross).

Reading the Psalms daily is a great way to keep ourselves in the presence of God throughout the whole day, and as I’ve been doing it over the last month I’ve noticed how my mind wanders back to God in thankfulness or prayer or just offering up my heart in love to Him throughout the day.

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This chart looks complicated, but it’s actually not really. You look at the top and find which month we’re in, which determines which column to read from. Then, it’s as simple as finding the day of the month along the left-hand side of the column. There’s both morning and evening readings, they’re pretty short, and it’s perfect for keeping in a Bible at your bedside table (I printed mine at 75%, cropped the blank paper and title off, and it fits nicely inside my Bible). The nice thing about this reading chart is I don’t worry about it if I missed a reading, I just pick up with the current one and I know it’ll eventually come around again as I keep it up.

Give it a try for a month or two, and I convinced you’ll find it a life-transforming experience.

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