Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rise Up For Excellent Service

By Lisa Bevere

This word “service” has multiple applications. It is both a verb and a noun. As a verb, it means “to repair, check, tune, and examine.” Jesus did us a great “service” through his sacrifice and made us fit to stand before a holy God. We live in a way that reflects this life-giving service. He was broken so we might be repaired. The noun form of service can mean “ceremony, ritual, or sacrament.”

Sometimes I fear we’ve forgotten that the purpose of a church “service” is to learn how to serve God and one another well. Far too many Christians gather with the wrong expectation. They come to hear how God will serve them. Instead, let’s come together for the purpose of reaching out to those who falter within our buildings and outside our sanctuaries.

With the promise of freedom, favor, and new opportunities opening up before us, let’s move forward in the things of God so that none might fall behind. I love this charge: Don’t imagine us leaders to be something we aren’t. We are servants of Christ, not his masters. We are guides into God’s most sublime secrets, not security guards posted to protect them. The requirements for a good guide are reliability and accurate knowledge

(1 Corinthians 4:1–2).

We are to be guides, not security guards. We are to invite others into the kingdom, not keep them outside the mystery of God. We are charged to be reliable guides with accurate knowledge. Let’s be certain to pause at the openings God has made for us, and if necessary, reach back so that others do not fall behind. As a daughter of the Most High, your reach should be both generous and noble. The life of God liberates, while the law burdens. You have been released from the “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” approach to Christianity.

Yet there are far too many partially blind and toothless ones walking around in the body of Christ. Never forget who you are—strong, majestic, fearless, fierce, protective, at rest, and unworried. God repeatedly compared the strength of his royal children to lions and lionesses: “Like a lion, Israel crouches and lies down; like a lioness, who dares to arouse her?” (Numbers 24:9, NLT)

If you forget your fierce and fearless nature, then all who look to you for protection and guidance will be at risk. The body of Christ is made up of noble, powerful guardians who have awakened to the realization that God has opened up a wide expanse before us.

Dear sisters, lionesses, and friends… I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively! (2 Corinthians 6:11–13)

Do you hear this? We have been invited to enter into the wild, wide-open spaces of God. This is a summons to live expansively, here and now. You don’t have to wait until heaven to see heaven’s power released on earth. God is not the one fencing you in.

But the lionesses did not move outside their enclosure until their hunger exceeded their desire to be safe. In the same way, our lack of vision or hunger for something more can limit and restrain us from stepping out into the wild. We are emboldened or held captive by how we see ourselves, our world, and our God. The world “out there” can look daunting if you imagine it a dark, scary place.

Open your eyes and remember who you are—a golden bearer of light who has the power to dispel darkness wherever she goes. “The Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world” (1 John 4:4). It is not even a close match. The Spirit within you far exceeds the might of any opposition you may encounter in this world! It is the Most High God who calls you out. He sent his Son to die on a cross so you might cross over from death to life and from this world’s places of confinement into the eternal expanse. Even before you drew your first breath, he had made a way to release you from captivity.

He chose to confine himself and experience our small, fenced-in life so you could join him in the vast freedom of the kingdom. Even now he calls to each of us, “Cross over and enter in!”

Lisa Bevere is an international speaker who empowers women to live fearless and purposeful lives. She is the bestselling author of “Fight Like a Girl,” and “Nurture,” among others. She co-hosts the television program “The Messenger,” which airs in more than 200 countries. Bevere and her husband John, are the founders of Messenger International (, a Colorado Springs-based ministry.

Excerpted from “Lioness Arising” by Lisa Bevere Copyright © 2010 by Lisa Bevere. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.