Preparing for the New Year – Building Spiritual Habits – Service

I’ve covered this verse relatively recently, but it’s good to cover it again. After all, it was part of a message spoken by Christ to His disciples. And that message applies to us today:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16, NIV

Salt changes what it comes in contact with. For slugs, it kills them. For things like meat, it preserves them. We are supposed to be the same way. The things that are unclean and are not of God are the things we should cause to diminish and die out. And the things which are good and holy we should preserve and protect. Notice how Christ says to do this. We are to let our light shine before men so that they may see our good deeds. That means we’re doing something. That means we’re being active. We are going out to the world, not just sitting back and letting it come to us.

The good deeds part means we’re actively helping others. In other words, we’ve got to go beyond just talking about it. Our deeds must be visible, which means more than sitting back and giving money. We have to actually get involved. That’s service, and that’s one of the best ways to carry the message of the Gospel into the world. We can preach from our pulpits and we can protest things we don’t like, and that’s all part of what we should be about. But it doesn’t stop there. We must also seek to perform acts of service towards others.

We can be diligent students of God’s Word. We can be super prayer warriors. And we can dive right into to fellowship with other believers. But service helps us do two things:

– Strengthen the Church as acts of service are performed internally.
– Increase the Church as unbelievers are converted because they see our good deeds.

Therefore, service is an important spiritual discipline we must work at to develop. And keep in mind that most people can tell if we’re doing something out of a heart’s desire or because we want something. So this is something we must form into a habit. It must be something that is spontaneous, that is just part of who we are. And the best way to develop a spiritual habit of service is by just doing it. Start small. Seek little ways to help the folks around you. Speaking as a husband I can help pick up around the house, take a turn with the kids, cook dinner, wash the dishes, do the laundry, etc. You get the idea. There is something we can all do for the folks we find around us. And the more and more service becomes a natural extension of ourselves, the more we’ll see where we can serve. And then we’re at the state Jesus describes where others will see our good deed and praise our Father in heaven. All for His glory.

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