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The God Whom I Serve


Last week I commented on Acts 27:23 where Paul and others were caught in a storm at sea.  Paul stated that "an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, 'do not be afraid...'"  The words "the God whose I am", tells us that Paul understood that he belonged to God, not himself.   


Now I'd like to comment on the words "the God  whom I serve".  Notice the word "serve".  One usually serves the one he belongs to.  The Greek word "latheuo" is the word translated as "serve" in this verse.  It's one of three Greek words that are translated into the English word "serve", and other related words.  "Latheuo"  means "to work", as in working for someone as a hired hand.  That's an appropriate word to use in Paul's case.  Jesus didn't conscript Paul just to be a Christian.  Paul had lots of work to do for Jesus.   


It is interesting to note that "latheuo" is sometimes translated into English as "worship".   In Acts 24:14 Paul stood before Felix in a court of law and said, "I admit that I worship the God of our fathers…"  The God Paul spoke of was Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  The word "worship" is translated from "latheuo". 


What I want to point out here is that worshipping and serving God go hand in hand.  Actually, serving is an act of worship.  Worship is clearly more than what Christians attempt to do on a Sunday morning.  As a matter of fact, if your heart is not right before the Lord, what you do Sunday morning isn't worship. 


Serving demands sacrifice.  Serving without sacrifice is not really serving.  It's only an extra-curricular activity, something you do on the side, if and when you have the time.  Serving wasn't an extra-curricular activity for Paul.  It was the very fabric of who he was, something he was constantly aware of in his life.


When Paul said he worshipped the God of his fathers, he was on trial in a Roman court.  When he said that he served the God "whose I am", he was in a bad storm at sea.  Paul's life was one of sacrificial worship to Yahweh.   


In 2 Timothy 2:3 Paul said that we should endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  Serving often puts us in a place where we have to endure things we don't like.  It might not be at sea, or before a court of law, but serving God will from time to time put you in a difficult spot.  That might not be what you were told when you first heard the gospel, but it's true.  By the way, it was what Paul was told when he first heard the gospel. 


I believe there are going to be lots of opportunities for Christians to endure difficulties in the days ahead as we collide with a secular society.  You or I might have to stand before a court of law and give account of ourselves and say like Paul,  that our actions are a result of the "God whose I am and whom I serve".    


I'm just wondering a few things.  Do we think in terms of actually doing the work of a Christian, or just being a Christian?   Do we think of ourselves as soldiers for Jesus?   Do we face hardships because of Jesus?   Do we succeed in enduring any kind of hardship, or do we complain?   Will we survive the pressure brought on us by the world when we're so much in love with the world?  And, do we really serve the Lord and those He has set before us, or do we simply serve ourselves in the name of Jesus?  It's something to think about as we  remember Paul's words, "the God whose I am and whom I serve".        


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