The new way to serve
Have you ever been confused as to what it means to live 'through' the Spirit? Or what it means to 'serve'? This is a great little glimpse of what it means to live freely with the Spirit helping you, every single day of your life. The 'New Way' to serve...
Romans 7:6 ...we serve in the new way of the Spirit...
The gospel means ‘good news’, and the gospel is good news at every point:
- God loves us: his immeasurably great love is new every day
- God has saved us through the work of his Son Jesus: we can enjoy a relationship of love with him
- God is at work in us: he is helping us become people who live lives of love
There is nothing that we can do to deserve or earn God’s love. All along the initiative has lain with him: he made us and he loves us; he loves us and he saves us; he saves us and he changes us. Our love is a response to God’s love for us, as John writes ‘we love because he first loved us’ (1 John 4: 19).
Living life hand in hand with God, is not about following laws and being saved by our own efforts.
Through the Old Testament law, God had made known his holy standards to his people. They tried hard to keep to the letter of the law in order to satisfy God’s demands, but found it was impossible. Only Jesus was able to live a perfect life. And for those who put their trust in him, Paul is now pleased to announce an entirely new way of living.
Rather than serving the law, he says, ‘we serve in the new way of the Spirit’. We have a part to play, but this is not so that we can try to secure God’s approval or make ourselves good enough for him. Rather, having accepted what Jesus has done and made possible for us, we now serve in a new way, the way of the Spirit.
God calls each one of us to live a life of love, to live out his kingdom values, to be his hands bringing compassion and comfort to a hurting and troubled world. And the wonderful truth is that we are not called to do this in our own strength, but in the power of God’s Holy Spirit who lives in us and is at work in us.
Day by day we are called to ‘keep in step with the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:25), to discern his voice leading and directing us, to be sensitive to his whispers of encouragement or correction, and to act on his words of insight. This is the new way of the Spirit; a life of love, made possible entirely through the death and resurrection of Jesus – not through anything that I could do at all.
Such a life is filled with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). It is a life of loving and joyful service, not drudgery. It is a life of peace and patience, not one motivated by guilt or anxiety.
Such a life was lived to perfection by Jesus, our model and example, and it is his Spirit at work who brings about this wonderful change in us. This is certainly not what I am like in my own strength, but hour by hour, day after day, week in week out, God is at work in me through his Spirit to make me more like Jesus: more loving, and joyful, more peaceful and patient, kinder, better, gentler, more faithful and more self-controlled.
This is the best possible way to live! In relationship with God, his Spirit at work in me enables me to serve him and the community in which I find myself. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, this new way of life is one of joyful service of God, whom to serve is perfect freedom.
This is the new way that I want to serve this year!
Margaret is the mother of our regular contributor, Emma. She lives in Cambridge and is a member of Christ Church. She teaches English in one of the Cambridge schools.