January 27, 2017

1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

This is a justly famous verse, but we tend to add to it in a way that actually diminishes the impact. What we do is insert, in our minds at any rate, “in the church,” after “speaks” and “serves.” The devil doesn’t like our obeying this verse at all, but he minds it much less if we limit our application of it to formal “church” settings. That produces “Sunday Christians” who do little or nothing to advance the Kingdom of God. Paul talked about watching our speech at all times, (Ephesians 4:29, 5:4) and the same sort of thing may be said of all our activities. (Colossians 3:17) Since as believers we are to be speaking the Gospel, everything we say should be in line with that. That’s not at all to say we’re always to be solemn; even Jesus told jokes! However, there should not be a disconnect between the Gospel and anything else that comes out of our mouths. Likewise, we are to serve people as serving the Lord. If we will do that, we will find His strength to be abundant indeed.

Anyone who knows me would be quick to agree that I am “one who speaks.” Too often it’s a problem getting me to shut up! I have no greater joy than when I am aware that God is speaking through me, and people are receiving His Word. At the same time, it also gives me joy to serve Christ through serving others. Actually, I have let my own joy in speaking and serving be a hindrance to this church, because if I’m always doing everything, others are deprived of the joy and the growth that come from such activities. Our speaking and serving, as Peter talks about them, are certainly not confined to the church, but the fellowship of believers is an excellent place to train in doing these things properly. If someone cannot pray out loud in a church setting, they certainly aren’t going to pray out loud for a non-Christian friend in that person’s presence. I am to teach the believers to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16) I’m not to be the only teacher/admonisher!

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You also for this cold, that makes me more than willing to let anybody serve however they would like, because I don’t feel like it! Help me recognize how You want me speak and serve today and be obedient, whatever I feel like, so that Your will may be done in and through me for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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