A Christ-Follower Will Be A Servant

Complimentary Story
February  2024

   We have spent a little time in the Old Testament considering some of the things God requires of His followers. We should be helping the less fortunate break the chains of injustice. We should be dedicated to meeting the needs of the hungry and satisfying the needs of the oppressed, providing shelter for the wanderer, the homeless, and providing clothing for those in need. God wants and requires a close personal relationship with His followers. He wants our whole heart, not just words. He wants us to revere Him and hold Him in deep respect. He requires us to love Him, serve Him with all our heart and soul. Walking in His ways,  we are to act rightly, love mercy and do good deeds, demonstrate acts of mercy and kindness in humility and with our whole being. The foundation for His followers is that we come before Him broken, empty of all our pride and completely reliant upon God’s mercy and forgiveness of our sins.

   Before we leave the Old Testament, I would like the reader to consider something written from a man I write to in a Wisconsin prison. Start: “Ephesians 2:8-10, ‘It is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast, for we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.’

   “Everyone is included in these verses, prisoners too. We have all been created and called by God for the work He has planned for us. We,  as true Christians, need to recognize the needs of all so that everyone can be involved and active participants in the ministry of Jesus Christ. Part of the ministry of Jesus is helping prisoners have opportunities to feel loved and welcome. If we do not include everyone in service opportunities, we are saying to a group of people that we don’t need to have them. Part of worshiping God is finding ways to live our faith in service. My prayer is that the WCN family will welcome this prisoner who will be released the end of 2024 and will be living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am not asking for money. I am interested in building a faith-based support group before I am released. I would like to feel welcome by people of faith and to grow closer to Jesus.”

  Please consider writing Kenneth an encouraging note or letter. If you’re from Milwaukee, consider corresponding and inviting him to your church fellowship. Kenneth Wells, Jr. #414034, Oakhill Correctional Institution, P.O. Box 189 Phoenix, Maryland  21131-0189.

  Let’s hike on up to the New Testament and consider some of the things that, “The Word Who became flesh and lived for awhile among us,” (John 1:14), has to say about our topic.

  When Jesus came, He did not come to “abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them.”  Matthew 5:17. The word “fulfill” means to “bring to life.” Jesus came to live out God’s Word, so sometimes we need to look at His behavior to understand how we are to behave as His followers. One of those behaviors is recorded in John 13: 1-17. The disciples were really set back as Jesus began to wash their feet. They had seen Jesus perform miracles, heal the sick and raise the dead. He claimed to be God and they believed Him to be the long-awaited Messiah. The strong, prideful Peter first declined to let Jesus do such a lowly servant thing to him. He quickly changed his mind when Jesus informed him that if he didn’t let Jesus wash his feet then he had no part with Him. When he finished washing their feet, even the one He knew would soon betray Him, He told them that He had set them an example, that they should do as He had just done. They and we as Christ followers should be servants to others. Not very different from what we learned in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, we observe Jesus living out the Old Testament words in His actions. A promise comes with when Jesus’ followers become servants to other people: “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”  (John 13:17).

  In Philippians 2, Paul knocks on the door of our brain, reminding us that if we have any comfort from Jesus’ love, and fellowship with the Spirit, any tenderness or compassion, then we should be like minded. Have the same love as Jesus, being one in spirit and truth. Consider others better than ourselves and look not only to our own interests but to the interests of others. Our attitude should be the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus. We are to make ourself as nothing and take on the very form of a servant, just like Jesus did. Love mercy and do acts of mercy and kindness. Provide shelter for the homeless, food and clothing to those in need. Meet the needs of the oppressed by removing obstacles to bring freedom from oppression.

   Philippians 3: 10-15 has long been what some call, “my life verse.”  These verses are a driving force in my life. Long ago put to memory, I find myself contemplating the meaning of these verses at many times. In the night when I can’t sleep, at idle times during the day and at quiet times when alone in God’s great garden. I want to know Christ. I like the idea of knowing the power that raised Jesus from the dead. That’s awesome power. I want to know that!  I don’t know how much I want to experience the same sufferings of Jesus and the part about becoming like Him in His death. What does that mean? Jesus died on the cross so that all who believe in Him can find forgiveness and spend eternity with Him in God’s kingdom. He is not asking His followers to literally die on a cross but rather to become like Him, in His death. Jesus was obedient to God’s word and that obedience included that He die as the sacrifice for all of mankind’s sins. He followed through as the one and only sacrifice for sin. Followers are not asked to do that, but we are asked to be obedient to the words of God that do pertain to us, as obedient as Jesus was. Jesus took on the form of a servant, He served God by going to the cross and also served the needs of all mankind and removed the obstacle of man’s separation from God and brought all of mankind freedom from the oppression and tyranny of sin and the law. Becoming like Jesus in His death is that we, as His followers, will become servants of God, serving, willingly, with our whole heart and soul living out His words of instruction to us and striving to love and serve the people we know and come into contact in our daily lives, demonstrating acts of mercy and kindness.

   Part of the driving force behind these verses comes as Paul states, “not that I have attained all this or have already been made perfect.” Vs. 12. Paul writes these words while in prison, in Rome, near the end of his life. He had written most of the New Testament, walked and sailed on three missionary journeys, taking him thousands of miles, back and forth, all over the Mediterranean region. He was driven to serve God, totally sold out and selfless. Yet he writes these verses. There must be a lot to understanding and knowing Christ, the power of the resurrection and becoming like Jesus in His death. I believe it is a lifetime commitment and a striving to understand. As followers, we make this commitment and seek to take hold of the reason that Jesus took hold of us. Why did He take hold of you? There is a reason and it will bring purpose to your and my life as His followers. 

   Jesus took hold of me at the extreme depth of my addiction and lifted me up and out to the freedom only found in Him. Taking hold of that for which He took hold of me, is to reach out in love and mercy to others caught in addiction and habitual sin and introduce them to the love, mercy and forgiveness found in God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Like Paul, I don’t believe I have completely taken hold of it. There is so much in this chapter of Philippians. In both knowing Christ, becoming like Him and taking hold of why He took hold of us, and there is further direction given to us by Paul. We are to press on and forget the wrongs of our past and strain toward what is ahead. This “pressing on” is a hunting term that means to pursue after game, to run after on foot and catch the game, food, as though life and death were at stake. Pursue knowing Jesus, pursue being a servant like Jesus was, pursue knowing why Jesus took hold of you and act accordingly. Keep doing that until Christ returns or calls us home. “All of us who are mature should take such a view of things.” vs.15.

  If we took such a view of things, where would that take me? Where would it take you? I think for sure it will take us followers of God and Jesus out of our comfort zones. And probably away from the television and internet surfing. The bottom line is that we become servants, actually to take on the form of a servant, we will model and display the very meaning and definition of servant. Be like Jesus, “Who did not come to be served but to serve.” Matthew 20:25-28. Empty of our pride, selfishness and self-centeredness, in humility, we will count others’ needs more important than our own and strive to be, willingly, obedient to all that God asks of us in both the Old and New Testaments. Think on these things. Dream on these things. Put action to these things and discover God’s blessings as you do them.

Lynn Fredrick is the author of Stand Firm.” Stand firm over sin. Stand firm in your faith.


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