JESUS SERVED: WE SERVE – A Change of Heart
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. —Mark 10:45
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. — Hebrews 12:1-2
Joy, represented by the third candle in the advent season, seems to be something we chase, for we tire often and settle for mere happiness. This can lead to our heart changing to the acceptance of things that don’t matter. Hence our faith is weakened to the point where our heart slowly becomes hardened. The happiness is fleeting and thus our heart weakens toward what only God can provide.
When Jesus came to both serve us and endure the suffering for us, it was out of love. Wait. How can serving, suffering, sacrifice bring about joy? We certainly don’t count it as joy when those things happen, right? A deep-rooted belief that only God can satisfy is what brings about true joy, enduring love, and a heart to serve. The recognition that serving others—as opposed to ourselves—is what transforms our heart and allows us to experience joy.
Just as we were the object of the joy that was before our Savior, so are others around us the object of our joy when we begin to serve them. We are able to experience joy when we follow Jesus, for unlike circumstances, He never waivers, never changes, never fails. This is the joy we want others to experience and we are here to do just that, to demonstrate what heart change looks like, what belief in Jesus is as compared to belief in ourselves.
Fighting that desire to please ourselves—even while serving others—is no easy battle. We not only need the Holy Spirit living in and through us, we need to have a complete change of heart. This can only happen over time as we serve others over and over, for this helps to break down the cheap satisfaction that is happiness and begins to unveil the lasting satisfaction that is joy.
Happiness will certainly be experienced this Christmas for many of us, for when we get to be with family or when we—or our kids—open a gift, there is that brief moment of elation. It is amazing, though, at how quickly that moves to the next moment, still hoping to replicate that same feeling. Joy, however, true, lasting joy, that is for what our hearts really long. And as we serve others around us, we will begin to get a taste of that.
You can download the JESUS SERVED: WE SERVE Advent Resource Guide here.