Serving by God’s Strength.

 “10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (I Peter 4:10-11).

In anticipation of Jesus Christ’s soon return (I Peter 4:7), God commands believers to be self-controlled and sober-minded by loving one another and showing hospitality. He also calls self-controlled and sober-minded believers to be good stewards of their spiritual gift(s).

A spiritual gift is a God-given ability to serve. Spiritual gifts are not for the purpose of personal pride and self-exaltation. I Peter 4:10 makes it very clear that spiritual gifts are for the purpose of serving one another. As churches and individual believers serve one another with their spiritual gifts, they evidence good stewardship.

Remember that Peter was writing to Christians who were being persecuted for their faith. Using one’s spiritual gifts does not just occur when life is easy, but also when it is hard.

Peter now divides spiritual gifts into two main categories: speaking gifts and serving gifts. Previously, we examined the spiritual gift of speaking. Let’s now examine the spiritual gift of serving.

Peter says that whoever serves is do so by the strength God supplies. The word serve (διακονέω; diakoneo) is found throughout the New Testament. It is the word from which we derive the English word “deacon.” Literally it means a “waiter of tables.” The apostle used this same word in I Peter 4:10. All spiritual gifts are to be used for the purpose of serving one another.

However, Peter wants his readers to remember that the only way they can serve one another is by the strength (ἰσχύς; ischys) or capability God supplies (χορηγέω; choregeo) or provides. Rather than getting an inflated sense of our own importance, Peter wants believers to know that regardless of what they do, or how they serve, it is only possible by the ability God gives the servant to serve.

In our previous devotional, I quoted from Dr. Steven J. Lawson who sees an alarming trend in which pastors no longer preach the Word of God. Regarding the responsibility of serving one another, I see an alarming trend of people wanting to be served, but not wanting to serve. Additionally, I also see those who do serve are doing so for what they will receive from their service: notoriety, a following, or a big church with a big time budget. We must continually evaluate not only our motives in how and what we preach but also how we serve.

Peter says that the purpose of using our spiritual gifts, whether speaking or serving, is that God would be glorified through Jesus Christ. There it is again folks. The whole purpose of any church, or any believer or pastor, doing anything is for the purpose of ultimately glorifying God. If speaking or serving in the church is for any other reason or motivation, it is sin.

I Peter 4:11 concludes with a doxology: “To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

In his song, Glory to God Forever, Steve Fee writes:

Take my life and let it be
All for You and for Your glory
Take my life and let it be Yours.
Take my life and let it be
All for You and for Your glory
Take my life and let it be Yours.

Soli deo Gloria!

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