Power Is For Servants
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.” —Romans 1:1
The Definition Of A Servant
The apostle Paul defines himself as a servant. In Paul’s writings, it seems that this description is one of his favorite expressions of who he is and what his life is all about.
The term servant indicates that Paul has chosen to be a bondslave of the Lord Jesus. A bondslave is a person whose will is swallowed up in the will of his master. The two key motives that drive the servant are an incredibly strong love for his master and a definitive love for others.
It’s not easy to submit your life to someone else. But this is the key characteristic of a true servant—one who does not live for himself, self-gratification, self-aggrandizement, or self-promotion. A true servant knows the mind of his master and strives to accomplish the purpose that his master has set before him. He must lay aside selfish goals and seek desperately for the will and the purpose of the one he serves. There is no one within the body of Christ who cannot attain to the status of a servant. The real question is, who will dedicate and submit himself or herself to being servant?
The Character Transformation Of The Servant
One of the great joys and benefits of salvation is the character transformation of the individual Christian. Every Christian has the potential to be transformed into the image of Christ. There is, no doubt, as Romans 8:29 declares, that God desires for all of His children to be conformed to the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. When this is identified as the believer’s premier goal, it should also be obvious that we as human beings need help in being transformed to the precious image of Jesus.
Without the help of the Holy Spirit, this transformation is impossible—not probable but impossible. Therefore, the true servant understands his need for God’s power for transformation. The believer must come to recognize that that power is released as a result of his faith. Faith must remain forever and always in Jesus and what He has done for us. We must recognize that the work of Christ on the cross allowed the Holy Spirit not only to indwell every believer (beginning at the moment of salvation) but also this same Spirit has the power to transform him into what God desires for him to become. Wrong thoughts can be cast down. Wrong actions can be eliminated. Wrong attitudes can be identified and cast aside. But only as this believer, this servant, keeps his faith in who Christ is and what Christ has done.
James 4:6 says that God gives grace to the humble but that He resists the proud. The character of the servant recognizes his need for his master's power, not just in an event or a moment in time but every minute of every day. Only as we trust and depend upon what God has provided for us in the redemption process may we be changed.
Let me be clear: Religious activities, even biblical activities, cannot provide one with transformation. All the disciplines in the world coupled with consecration from the heart cannot, in themselves, bring about the change that is needed. Power to change comes to a servant who knows where to place his faith and who is dependent upon the supernatural equipping of God. Power to change is for servants.
The Power For Service And The Servant
The baptism with the Holy Spirit is a supernatural event subsequent to salvation. While some in the body of Christ deny that there is a second subsequent work available to the believer, the evidence in the book of Acts tells a different story. The doctrine of subsequence speaks of the truth of a second work. Subsequence can be proven through the simple observation of time.
In Acts 8, there seems to be no feasible doubt that the Samaritans were saved and then later received a special infilling of the Spirit. It is impossible for someone to be born again without receiving the Holy Spirit, relative to the salvation experience and all that it entails. The time frame that existed between the initial salvation experience of the Samaritans and the infilling power of the Spirit is undeniable.
A second example cited today would be Acts 19. No matter how you interpret Acts 19:1-7, it is obvious that a period of time separates the initial salvation experience of the Ephesian disciples that Paul met from the infilling of the Spirit that they experienced after they were water baptized.
The baptism with the Holy Spirit is an experience that initiates supernatural power for service in the life of the servant. It does not make one a “super Christian.” No single experience guarantees that any believer will constantly be led by the Spirit, helped by the Spirit, anointed by the Spirit, etc. The baptism with the Holy Spirit does not guarantee power in a never-ending measure. It lays the foundation for the availability of power for service to those who are servants.
For too long, this wonderful experience has been either misunderstood as the power to change character or it has been utilized to categorize one Christian as “better” than another. Power for service is to be power for servants who love God and love people and care more about others than they do themselves. God’s power for change and God’s power for service is available to all Christians. But the most outstanding use of power for transformation and power for service is the supernatural ability afforded by God to the believer who desires to be a servant and used for God’s service.
Power is for servants!