“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3).
“Do not be afraid little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
“I will never leave you, nor will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18)
God directly intervened in my life one day, and spoke the following words to me. I hope that they will be an encouragement to you as think about “how to serve God” in a way that is truly pleasing to him. Here are the words:
“There is nothing at all you need to do in order to find favor with me. I love you just the way you are.”
Now what an awesome statement that was! The reason God intervened was because of a motive on my part to serve him out of a sense of fear of punishment. You see, I had been brought up that way (“do this … or else!”) and had carried that way of thinking into my Christian walk. God was now saying to me, “This is important to me, I don’t want you to serve me like that. I want you to be free. Serve me, yes, but don’t serve me because you are afraid of the punishment that I will inflict if you don’t serve me. You are a completely accepted child — I will never leave you nor will I ever forsake you. I will take care of you. I am your Father and I love you!”
It wasn’t that I shouldn’t pay attention to my Christian walk. Of course, God wants us all to do that. We are not to be “slothful” or “lazy,” but rather “diligent” in every way. And it wasn’t that I shouldn’t do good works for God in accordance with his word in Ephesians 2:10. The Bible makes it very clear in that passage that God has prepared for us “good works” to do in advance, that we might walk in them (and even find fulfillment in them). Rather, what I think God was saying to me was that I should serve him out of a sense of appreciation of him, out of a sense of joy, and out of a sense of having really been loved. As the Bible says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18)
How about you? What is motivating you right now? Are there pockets of fear in your life? How do you get rid of them? The answer is always the same. Spend quality time with your heavenly Father through prayer and through reading His word (the Bible). Get to know other Christians, too, but get to know mostly him. Love him. Understand that he loves you, and cares for you, and will never leave you, if you have committed your life to him. “Do not be afraid little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
If you have committed your life to him, and surrendered yourself to the Lordship of Christ, then he loves you and cares for you and will see you through every circumstance. That is what the Bible says. He will never leave you, nor will he ever forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). You don’t need to be afraid. You are accepted in your heavenly Father’s house. Welcome to that family!