As Christians in the flesh we are often confronted with the idea of serving God. It is because the flesh and its strength constantly points us to a different direction that seemingly suits our comfort and our spirit that has been renewed in Christ and desiring glory from God knows the direction to take. It is truly a difficult choice to make between the two. Yet, having known the truth about life and eternal life we can take courage to make the right choice and find the result of it absolutely refreshing and profitable. During His ministry on earth Jesus always made sure the disciples had clear cut knowledge of serving God. He taught and led them in such a way that they are prepared to overcome the flesh and its strength. Still, Jesus does the same to those who believe and obey God. For His Word is living and is ready to mightily work in us as we take up His living principle. “And Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they were amazed at Him”(Mark 12:17).
Many Christians these days ignore this principle. And the churches have become a haven for hypocrisy rather than reality. Consider the Word that Jesus spoke. If one does not render to Caesar (government) that are his, it is disobedience not only to the law of the land, but also to the law of God. God Himself stipulated that His children are to be in subjection to their authorities. For example: paying taxes, obeying traffic rules and staying away from illegal activities. These things we ought to do and indeed do them. However, the real issue lies with rendering to God the things that belong to Him. What is it that belongs to God and is with us that we should render it to Him? It is our inner man or spirit. Unless he is devoted to Him, we cannot give Him that which He wants from us. When we hand over our spirit to Him, Christ’s Word that said those who worship Him in spirit and truth can be fulfilled. It can be fulfilled by the Word Paul elsewhere spoke in the Spirit saying we worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.
Without fully surrendering ourselves to God it is impossible to render to Him our offerings that amount to a sweet aroma. So, what does it mean to render to Him our inner man? It is belief in Him and obedience to all He asked and asks of us. In other words, trust and obey. This is all God wants from us and for this purpose He sent Christ so that we understand. He does not mix or intend to mix the things of the flesh and the things of the Spirit. When we too maintain His principle, we cannot put confidence in the flesh. Our inner man will have obtained the strength from the Spirit of God to overcome it. The spin-off is that we quite easily and painlessly obey our authorities. Let us not doubt this possibility, unless we are yet to fully believe in Him. For the one who does not fully know would say, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?” (John 4:11).
We know what Jesus is capable of giving us. And it is for that reason He said we worship God in spirit and truth. It is not the infinite amount of water that He gives, but living water. That water is the Holy Spirit. He guides us into all the truth. He makes His abode in us. His work is to never let us be empty of the things of God. Now, when we render to God our spirit, we will continuously be filled with love, righteousness, forgiveness and many more. Exercising them would again mean we render to God His things. Many went astray concerning the living water; it is to suit their principles of the flesh. Jesus laid great emphasis on the Spirit. It was because without Him our worshipping of God in spirit and truth will have no outcome. That He said the Spirit is necessary means we are to run to obtain Him. All things of God flow into us and all things will be possible to us, because our inner man worships Him in the Spirit. This gives great advantage to further render to God, but in a profound and unique way. His lovingkindness compels us to seek glory for Him; we become acceptable in His sight. And so it was in this man’s case. “David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob” (Acts 7:46).
David was a man who always wanted to give to God that which belonged to Him. It was glory from his inner man. For this reason, the Scripture records him as a man after God’s own heart. It was not the first time he found favor in God’s sight. But his living for Him made him find His favor another time that he could glorify Him. Listen, the lovingkindness of God toward us indeed becomes the source to build us into a people that further searches for His glory. It is so captivating that we do not desire to run away from it. Do you intend to find favor in His sight? Then, begin by rendering Him that which belongs to Him, i.e. trust and obey Him in all matters. See what comes about and you will know what you must do. You will even see a glimpse of what He is going to do for you. His blessings will rain on you. If you have trusted and obeyed Him for all matters, He will never leave you without direction. For through His living water you establish an unbreakable bond with Him. You will turn into a person that constantly seeks ways to glorify Him. Much more, He will accommodate for them.
There is one and only one way to see whether we can find favor in God’s eyes. It is through conversing with Him. Just to realize the importance of praying to Him listen to the words of Paul and grasp the intensity in them. “Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Cor. 7:5). No matter who you are, whether married or unmarried, you ought to make time to pray to God. Praying in faith is the only work that paves way for satisfying results. It is a weapon that strengthens our self-control for many matters. If you are able to find all the excuses in the world for not praying, you are indeed caught up in the world. Praying is a time to be holy before the Almighty. The often you speak with Him, the more success you find in your life. In fact, your burden will become light in all your hard works. It was by praying to God that David became the man he is. Whether he needed to fight wars or to fulfill a desire, he sought His counsel. He even knew, by praying, how to find His will for him. Now, if you think you are unable to pray, because of the busy life you lead, think again. Your life will only get worse without God’s interference.
Paul always spent time in prayer. Or, how else can we think him to be successful in his missionary journeys? He always had the Lord’s favor upon him. For all the things he desired to do for Him, he found being accommodated. He found such great favor that during a couple of instances he was even forbidden by the Spirit to enter certain places. He was a man who totally surrendered his inner man to God; and the Spirit of God took full control of him. Because of this he achieved the following. He lived out his life on earth just as Christ desired. He obtained eternal life and the glories of it and most importantly, while serving God, he became a pillar of support to all who believed in Christ. So, he said “constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father” (1 Thess. 1:3). When we render to God that which is His, we find ourselves involved in many things for Him. We see this happened with Paul. He also saw the opportunity to pray and praise God for the excellent endeavors of Christians. After all, they were his work through Christ.
Finally, handing over our spirit to God builds us for the following. “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit” (1 Pet. 3:8). These are the qualities God longs from us and He gives them to us by letting His Spirit dwell in us. They let the world know that we have been set apart from them and to God’s people that we are set apart for them. Our God is not one to desire immaterial things from us; neither does He desire the material things, though He desires a part of our earnings so that our submission to Him, i.e. keeping His command, would yield us greater benefits. Remember the words of Christ when He said that whatever proceeds out of man is what defiles him. For out of a man’s heart comes everything evil, unrighteous and wicked. We are not to be such people. We are a people called to give to God that which belongs to Him. In doing so, we glorify Him, allow Him to glorify Him through directing us as well as glorify us through His measures. And Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12).