30 Days in the Bible, Day 11: 1 Peter 4:8-11
Peter adds another aspect to the question, “Why do we serve the Lord?” When we looked at Paul’s answer in Ephesians, we saw a focus on the building up of our fellow believers and of our church. Here Peter goes beyond that to the ultimate goal of everything we do: glorifying God.
Verse 11 clearly states what gives us our ability to serve. We may think that we have many skills and talents of our own, and that we are strong enough to do whatever we’re asked. To serve the Lord, we need more than what we have in ourselves. We need to serve “in the strength that God supplies.” Only when we rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to use the gifts that He has given us can we truly glorify God.
Ministering in our own strength and abilities will bring glory, but that glory will go to us. There are many people in this world who like to brag about what they are able to do and what they have accomplished. They want everyone to affirm them in their ability, and to admire their strength. This is something we ought to expect from people who do not know Jesus, since they follow the desires of their fallen nature.
Sadly, however, this can be true of Christians as well. There are some in the church who do not rely on the power of the Spirit, who seek to use their talents and abilities to achieve their own purposes even in the church. They don’t want to wait for the praise of their Lord, but to receive the praise of people right now. They fail to recognize that every gift and talents they have comes from God, and that working on their own cuts them off from using those gifts and talents in a truly effective way.
When we use what the Spirit has given us to minister in the name of Jesus, and when we rely on the strength given by God to empower us to serve, we honor the Lord. We depend on the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to give us the ability to minister for the sake of the kingdom, and to touch others with the love and grace of Jesus Christ. Serving for His glory, rather than our own, makes it possible for us to see God work through us, and to show our Lord to those to whom we minister.