How Can I Be Useful to God?

Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog.

As those who love the Lord Jesus, the One who loved us and gave Himself up for us, we want to do something for Him in return. We may ask Him, “Lord, what do You want me to do for You?” or “How can I be useful to You?”

God already has a multitude of angels who serve Him, so does God also need us human beings to serve Him and do something for Him? 

The Bible reveals that what God desires isn’t that we do something for Him. He wants us to express Him. In this post we’ll read some verses and notes in the New Testament Recovery Version to explore what the Bible reveals about what God wants from us.

God created us to express Him

In another post, we discussed the great matter of God’s plan for humanity. God’s plan sprang from His desire to share His divine life with us by coming into us. By joining Himself with us inwardly, He would be our life and fill our whole being. Being filled with God, we would live by Him and spontaneously express Him. 

Expressing God would be the result not of our doing something apart from Him but of our being one with Him and filled with Him.

In fact, we may perform many good deeds for God, but in doing them, we don’t express God at all. Instead, we may simply express ourselves because we do them by our natural person and natural energy, and not by the life of God in us.

We were created as vessels

So that we can contain Him and be filled with Him, God created us a certain way. The Bible reveals God made us as vessels. One of many verses that show us this is Romans 9:23-24:

“In order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory, even us, whom He has also called.”

God is the divine Potter, and human beings are vessels, designed with a human spirit that can contact, receive, and even contain Him.

Before we were saved, we were empty vessels. But when we repented and believed in the Lord Jesus as our Savior, we received Him into our spirit, the deepest, innermost part of our being. He came into us, lives in our spirit, and wants to fill us completely.

To express God, we must be filled with Him. What we’re filled with is what we automatically express. If we’re filled with God, we’ll express Him. If we’re filled with other things, we’ll express those things.

So God’s concern isn’t that we would do something for Him but that we would be filled with Him.

Drinking, being filled, and expressing God

Now that we’re saved, God wants us to continue to receive Him until our whole being is filled with Him and even overflowing with Him. 

God not only made us with a human spirit that can receive Him but He also created a thirst in us for Himself. This thirst causes us to long for Him. Nothing but God can quench this thirst.

John 7:37-38 says:

“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”

Notice that Jesus didn’t cry out, “Come to Me and do something for Me.” He said, “Come to me and drink.” He wants us to come to Him and receive Him by drinking Him as the living water. When we drink Him, living water will flow out of our innermost being.

What are these rivers of living water that flow out of us?

Let’s read note 2 on rivers of living water in verse 38 in the New Testament Recovery Version:  

“The rivers of living water are the many flows of the different aspects of life (cf. Rom. 15:30; 1 Thes. 1:6; 2 Thes. 2:13; Gal. 5:22-23), originating from the one unique river of water of life (Rev. 22:1), which is God’s Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2).”

Galatians 5:22-23, referenced in this note, explains what the different aspects of life are:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

These items of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 are different aspects of the divine life and the expressions of the Spirit. When we drink Him, He flows out of our innermost being as rivers of love and different aspects of life to others.

Drinking the Spirit 

So how do we come to Jesus and drink? Of course, Jesus wasn’t speaking of drinking physical water. Right after Jesus cried out to people to come to Him and drink, John 7:39 says:

“But this He said concerning the Spirit, whom those who believed into Him were about to receive; for the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.”

The Spirit is the water we drink that quenches our thirst and fills us to overflowing. 

Let’s read note 1 on Spirit in this verse. This note gives a brief yet remarkable view of the Spirit in the Bible:

“The Spirit of God was there from the beginning (Gen. 1:1-2), but at the time the Lord spoke this word, the Spirit as the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9), the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19), was not yet, because the Lord had not yet been glorified. Jesus was glorified when He was resurrected (Luke 24:26). After Jesus’ resurrection, the Spirit of God became the Spirit of the incarnated, crucified, and resurrected Jesus Christ, who was breathed into the disciples by Christ in the evening of the day on which He was resurrected (20:22). The Spirit is now the ‘another Comforter,’ the Spirit of reality promised by Christ before His death (14:16-17). When the Spirit was the Spirit of God, He had only the divine element. After He became the Spirit of Jesus Christ through Christ’s incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection, the Spirit had both the divine element and the human element, with all the essence and reality of the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ. Hence, the Spirit is now the all-inclusive Spirit of Jesus Christ as the living water for us to receive (vv. 38-39).”

The note helps us see that in resurrection, the incarnated, crucified, and resurrected Jesus became the Spirit that we can drink today. All He is and all He’s done is available to us in this wonderful Spirit as living water. Now we just need to drink Him.

We can drink by calling on the name of the Lord

How can we drink the Spirit? Since this all-inclusive water is the Spirit, we must exercise, or use, our spirit, our innermost being, to receive this water.

A simple and enjoyable way to exercise our spirit to come to the Lord and drink is calling upon His name. When we call, “Lord Jesus,” we contact the Spirit and take a drink of Him as the living water. 

All day long, while we’re at work, at home, in class, anywhere, and anytime, we can call upon the name of the Lord Jesus to drink of the Spirit. For instance, we can call, “Oh, Lord Jesus, I’m on my way to work. Lord Jesus, I drink you right now.” 

The more we drink, the more we’re filled, and the more rivers of living water will flow out of our innermost being to others. What people will see in us is the expression of God in different aspects of His life.

Being filled in spirit

Rather than trying to do something for God, we should simply drink the living water and be filled in our spirit every day. 

Ephesians 5:18-21 says:

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissoluteness, but be filled in spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and psalming with your heart to the Lord, giving thanks at all times for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father, being subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”

Note 1 on verse 18 in the New Testament Recovery Version explains:

“To be drunk with wine is to be filled in the body, whereas to be filled in the spirit (our regenerated spirit, not God’s Spirit) is to be filled with Christ (1:23) unto the fullness of God (3:19). To be drunk with wine in our physical body causes us to become dissolute, but to be filled in our spirit with Christ, with the fullness of God, causes us to overflow with Christ in speaking, singing, psalming, and giving thanks to God (vv. 19-20) and also causes us to subject ourselves to one another (v. 21).”

And note 1 on verse 19 on speaking points out that the issue is also the way we can be filled:

“Verses 19-21 modify be filled in spirit in v. 18. Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are not only for singing and psalming but also for speaking to one another. Such speaking, singing, psalming, giving of thanks to God (v. 20), and subjecting of ourselves to one another (v. 21) are not only the outflow of being filled in spirit but also the way to be filled in spirit.”

We can be filled in our spirit with Christ by calling upon His name to drink of the Spirit, by speaking and singing hymns, and by giving thanks to God. We can even be filled when we’re subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

The Bible is clear that God wants us to be filled with Him. By filling us with Himself, God will be expressed through us, working out His eternal purpose. Every day, we need to be filled in spirit. We encourage you to order a free copy of the New Testament Recovery Version if you live in Australia. You can read all the commentary on these verses in John 7 and Ephesians 5 to be more deeply impressed with God’s desire that we be filled with Him to be His expression.

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