9 God, whom I serve in my spirit
in preaching the gospel of his Son,
is my witness how constantly I remember you
As I read Romans 1:9 today I nearly skimmed over it. Perhaps you dashed right through it there at the top of this page. I know I do that when I see a verse that I’m quite familiar with on a web page. So, feel free to stop now and let your eyes drift back up so you can really read it.
I’ve read this verse scores of times. I love the sentiment Paul shares in this section of Romans. He challenges me to pray more for those in my spiritual charge as well as those I’ve helped bring to Christ. Nevertheless, today this verse stopped me.
Previously, I’ve focused on the last phrase, “how I constantly remember you.” It made me contemplate who I need to add to my constantly remember list. So many need Jesus, and my prayers are vital to their growth.
But today, another phrase caused me to pause–“whom I serve in my spirit.”
Service seems like a very external verb. When we think of that word, we imagine hands-on activity. So, when I isolated that phrase for half-a-second, I wondered what serving in one’s spirit really looks like. Do I serve in my spirit or is my service strictly telling, giving, helping, and doing?
Paul says when he preaches, he serves God in his spirit. The apostles service comes from deep within. Though it manifests itself in visible activity, it begins in a place only the Holy Trinity can see.
This reminds me of the words Jesus spoke to the Samaritan women at the well. “True worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23) You can raise your hands and mumble prayers all you want, but the kind of worship the Father desires comes from the spirit. If our worship doesn’t begin deep within, the One who sits in heaven is not impressed.
So, it makes sense if the Almighty asks us to worship in spirit, He’d expect us to serve from our spirit, too.
So what does serving from one’s spirit look like? I believe spirit-oriented service leaves no room for burn-out because if our spirit listens to the Holy Spirit, we avoid guilt-oriented service or obligatory-oriented service. Spirit-led service brings joy and fulfillment. It acts without judgment.
Activity for the sake of activity doesn’t make for good worship or good service. So let’s search deep within as we humble ourselves in prayer so we can please the Father, while we tell of the Son, and allow His Spirit to feed ours.
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