Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Serving the Lord is something He accomplishes in us and not something we accomplish.
When the Lord works in and through us, we serve Him with gladness. He does more than we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20)! The Lord draws us into His presence with singing! It is a new song (Psalm 96:1) of praise to God for Jesus’ finished work of grace! It is praise for complete freedom from the bondage of sin and all of its destruction and death. When our desire to serve the Lord is His desire and the power to serve is His, serving Him just flows of who He is within us. We serve the Lord with gladness when we know it is He who has made us righteous, and not we ourselves.
Working for the Lord is either our work or His work. When we know our identity in Christ (that it is He who has made us and not we ourselves), then the Lord creates, births, and delivers His will in us. But when we serve the Lord out of our own or someone else’s desire, we make what we do for Him about us. The recognition of others and their opinions becomes more important than God’s desire. When we serve Him out of human expectation, we make the work we do for Him subject to our feelings instead of subject to His truth. When we serve the Lord because we are indebted to Him, we make what we do for Him our work. We burn out without His power working through us.
We are not free to serve the Lord with gladness when we serve Him out of debt. When we serve the Lord out of a sense of indebtedness to what He has paid in full, we are serving Him in the flesh and not in the Spirit. Any work for the Lord not born out of the new life Jesus has given us is a work of debt and a work of our flesh. It becomes our work born of the debt that we feel we owe Jesus. And there is no joy or gladness in a work that will never set us free from ourselves. Joy and gladness are only found in His work when it flows out of the new person He has made us. Gladness flows freely when we serve Him out of faith in the truth of what He has done for us and not out of feelings of indebtedness. Joyful service flows without hindrance and reservation when it flows freely out of our debt-free identity in Jesus Christ.
In Christ, we have no debt. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. And as His sheep, we can hear His voice (John 10:27). When we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. We know He wishes to reveal Himself to us. He wants us to know ourselves as He knows us. He wants us to trust that He paid our debt in total—that there is nothing more we can do but listen to Him.
The Lord served us first before we ever served Him. The Lord loved us first before we ever loved Him. Yet, so often we try to serve Him without knowing He served us first. Often, we try to love Him without living by faith in the truth that He loved us first.
Jesus loved and served us first by making us right with God. His service is done. It is finished. It is complete. We receive the finished work of grace by faith and not by any service we do for Him. His work of grace is a complete work—the perfect work of salvation. We lack nothing in its truth. We stand in His righteousness before God without blemish—without debt.
The Holy Spirit challenges you to behold the complete and finished work Jesus has done in your life. It is He who has made you and given you a new life of peace with God. Yes, we are called to serve the Lord, but we are called to serve Him with gladness. And joy is only found when we know that we are His—that He has remade us—that He has removed our sins as far as the East is from the West. Jesus, who had no sin, took our sinful debt and paid it so we might have His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).
When you know who you are in Christ, you give out of His measure—and not out of your own. His power runs over! And your work will be His work and not yours. You will serve Him with gladness—pressed down and running over!
The Lord is good! His mercy and truth continue forever (Psalm 100:5)!
© 2023 Lynn Lacher