Hello, brothers and sisters! I have a question to discuss with you. All along, I have actively abandoned and spent and worked hard for the Lord. I have preached theof the Lord for more than ten years, during which I often gave sermons and helped brothers and sisters, and never missed a single gathering. Because of this, my brothers and sisters praised me as one who loves the Lord and is of one heart with Him. I myself also feel that my service is after the Lord’s heart. But now I feel dark and parched in my spirit and that I am becoming more and more distant from the Lord, unable to feel His presence or the work of the Holy Spirit in my work and preaching. I am very confused. Considering my spending and work for the Lord, I should have His guidance and blessings. Then why can’t I feel those things anymore? Why do I no longer have the presence of the Lord? Is my service not in line with His will? I can’t figure this out. Please, help me out.
Posted by Xiaoyang
With regard to this question, I want to share some of my opinions. Although many of us are serving the Lord, is our service based on any of God’s words? Did thesay that we will be after God’s heart if we work hard for Him? Let’s look back to the Pharisees that served God in the temple and traveled far and wide to preach the gospel. Outwardly, they had abandoned and spent a lot and worked hard for God, and should have been after God’s heart, but the Lord Jesus said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23). Why are these who serve the Lord rebuked, and are even condemned and cursed by the Lord? There’s truth to be sought in this. In our service to God, we should pay much more attention to seeking the truth, praying to God and pondering what His will is. Only thus can we serve the Lord’s will.
We all think that if we abandon everything and work hard, then we are serving the Lord. But if we reflect on ourselves, we’ll find a lot of wrong intentions in our service. For example, some people pursue fame and status, and other’s high regard, willing to accept any hardship as long as they can gain the approval of brothers and sisters. Some pursue to rise above others and to be a pastor or a co-worker; once losing status and livelihood, they would complain against and even betray God. Some pursue to gain grace and blessings from God, without which they would lose faith to follow and work for the Lord. Since we work just for our own desires instead of loving and satisfying the Lord, how can our service be in line with?
You’re right! From your fellowship, I realize that I also have my own intentions in working for the Lord. When brothers and sisters praised me as a faithful servant of the Lord because I communicated well and had compassion for them, I secretly felt happy, having energy to work; but when they pointed out my problems, though accepting them outwardly, I was conflicted in my heart without any energy to work. Was I not working for my own fame and status? Whether I had energy to work or not, all that I did was for my own interests. I am in no way loving the Lord or being considerate toward His will.
Right. Then let’s see the requirements of the Lord. The Lord Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). “he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). As it can be seen from the words of the Lord, the most important thing in believing in the Lord is to seek to obey Him and love Him more than anything else. We should care for God’s will in our work, frequently reflecting on whether or not our actions conform to His will, take God’s burden as our own, and dedicate everything we have to satisfy Him without considering our own gains and losses. Take Peter for example. He expended his entire life for the Lord, during which he didn’t seek to use his work to be looked up to by others, but sought to love and satisfy the Lord; he sought the Lord’s will in all matters, obeying all the arrangements from Him; at last, he was willingly crucified upside down for the Lord’s sake, bearing a strong and resoundingto Him. Is his obedience until death and his love for God to the utmost not something we should also pursue? This is the first aspect of serving God. The second aspect is that we must learn to seek the truth to know God’s will so that we can closely keep up with the pace of the Holy Spirit’s work.
Alas! When it comes to the work of the Holy Spirit, I can’t help thinking of the desolation of today’s churches. Most of the brothers and sisters have lost their previous love and faith, and are attending meetings perfunctorily. I also often feel great emptiness in my heart though running around outwardly. I have no new light when reading theand have nothing worthy to preach, failing to water and supply brothers and sisters. Besides, in my daily life, I can’t practice the Lord’s words to honor Him, nor can I understand His will when encountering things. It is as if I have lost the Lord’s presence. In light of such a situation, I can’t help but think of the end of the Age of Law, when the temple was getting bleak and later became a den of thieves because of the shift of the work of the Holy Spirit. Have the churches of today also lost the work of the Holy Spirit?
I think your guess is right. Just as the Bible says, “And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered” (Amos 4:7). Now is the last days—the crucial time when the Lord appears and works. Maybe the Lord has already appeared to speak and work somewhere. So we must listen for God’s voice and seek His footsteps so as to keep up with and gain the work of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Bible says, “For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened” (Luke 11:10). Only by letting go of our notions and praying to God earnestly to seek His will can we gain His enlightenment and guidance and then keep up with His footsteps.
Yeah, you are right. Taking initiative to seek the church with the work of the Holy Spirit and finding God’s footsteps is what someone who serves God should do. Thanks be to the Lord! Is there anything else we have to be mindful of?
Third, we must learn to handle the problems of brothers and sisters with God’s words to exalt God and testify to Him, bringing brothers and sisters before Him.
Although we help them with love, we tend to speak letters and doctrines based on our experience of work. However, by doing so we can’t guide brothers and sisters to practice and experience God’s words, neither can we help them understand God’s will when they have problems. For example, when brothers and sisters were in a bad state, we didn’t pay attention to communing God’s will, nor did we help them through our own practical experience, like how we revealed corruption when encountering similar difficulties, how we misunderstood and complained against God, and how God helped us solve our problems through His words. Instead, we, just like the Pharisees, only talked about how we suffered and paid a price for God and how much of God’s grace we had enjoyed to exalt and testify to ourselves. As a result, they all look up to us, admire us, and obey our orders. Aren’t we leading them into the presence of ourselves and taking the place of God in their hearts? Aren’t we competing with God for their souls? Isn’t such service resisting God and cursed by Him? I once saw a passage of words in a book: “Service in line with the will of God requires that in all things and with regard to all issues we should exalt God, testify to God, commune God’s will, commune God’s requests, and allow others to act in accordance with God’s word. We should not make people act in accordance to the principles, rules and sayings of man. Your communion should enable people to come before God and obey His will, act according to God’s word and, ultimately, come to know God and obey Him. Those who serve God must act like this, because only in this way can you serve God’s will. Those words are the maxim that people who work as a leader or a worker should adhere to. In dealing with every problem or in preaching and fellowshiping, you should certainly speak words of exalting God and testifying to God, and commune God’s will and His requirements of people more. You should not speak your own words, or speak doctrines and rules to restrict people. It is what God entrusts workers with to lead people to come into the presence of God, to gain the truth, to obey and worship God. If workers can’t be considerate of God’s will, if workers can’t lead people to return before Him and to know Him according to the requirements of God, then you disappoint God’s will and are a person who resists and betrays God.” From these words, we know if we want to serve God’s will, we must exalt and testify to God in all matters, handle the practical problems of brothers and sisters with God’s words, and communicate God’s will to them, so that they can act according to God’s requirements, come before God, and have a true understanding of God. This is the real service to God.
You couldn’t be more right. Take me as an example. Having no reality of the truth, when giving sermons to brothers and sisters, I either talked about how I worked hard for the Lord or preached theories of theology and biblical knowledge. After hearing my fellowship, they thought of me as the person who truly served the Lord and loved Him. Before, I felt cheerful inside when hearing this and thought I had the reality of the truth. But now, I realize that I not only failed to use God’s words to solve their problems, but unwittingly brought them into the presence of myself. Wasn’t my work resisting God? Am I not an evil servant? From now on, we shouldn’t work the way we did before. Instead, we must learn to solve problems with the truth, leading people into the presence of God.
Yes. The reason why we can come to understand the truth of serving God is because we reflected on and knew our behaviors, which is very important. So, the last aspect of serving God is frequently quieting our hearts before God to reflect on and know ourselves, and promptly correcting any mistakes we discover so that we can satisfy God. If we just work outwardly yet fail to examine our shortcomings and deviations in our work, we won’t know whether we serve God according to His will and demands. Only when we quiet our hearts and reflect on ourselves can we clearly see through the problems that exist within us, seek the truth to act according to the principles, and serve in line with God’s will. This is also one aspect for us to practice.
Your fellowship is so clear. In the past, we just paid attention to outward dedication, but never thought about whether our work was after God’s heart or how we could serve God’s will. Through your fellowship, I understand there are several aspects of service to God. First, we must seek to love and obey God and be considerate of His will, instead of just paying attention to our outward behavior. Second, we must seek the truth to understand God’s will so that we can keep up with the pace of the Holy Spirit’s work. Third, we must learn to exalt and testify to God in our work, handling every problem of brothers and sisters with the truth to bring them into the presence of God, so that they can understand His will, know His disposition and act according to His words. Finally, we must be able to quiet our hearts before God at any time to examine the problems that exist within us and seek the truth to solve them. Only in this way can we gradually get rid of our corrupt disposition, be cleansed and changed, and serve in line with God’s will. Thank the Lord for His guidance. I’ll fellowship what I gained today with the brothers and sisters who have the same confusion.
Thank the Lord! This is all the guidance of the Lord. All the glory be to the Lord!