22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Colossians 3:22-24, English Standard Version
The Apostle Paul highlighted to the Colossian slaves who became Christians on the importance of working from a true revelation of their relationship with the Lord, and not for the wrong reasons like pleasing people or earning their approval, or even just looking good.
The Greek word for “eye-service” is ophthalmodoulia. It is a compound word, combining ophthalmos (an eye) and doulos (a slave) which means “service performed [only] under the master’s eyes” (Strong’s G3787). In other words, you slack off when the boss isn’t looking, and you look busy only when the boss is watching.
If you read today’s text from a gospel perspective, you cannot follow one standard of behaviour when people are looking at you and a different one when they are not. In other words, don’t have a double standard. You are to do everything as to the Lord without any pretentious attitudes.
Right behaviour is the fruit of right believing.
Inconsistent behaviour comes from a failed understanding of our identity in Christ. And the unfortunate part is that there is too much preaching and teaching on correcting behaviour and too little on connecting with Christ. This explains why many believers are caught in a performance trap where they measure success or failure purely by how well they do certain things. They are the ones who seek to be “better” leaders, “better” parents and “better” people without ever wanting to know our Lord better.
If you build your worth and value on what you do and not on who you are in Christ, then you will do things to impress people, and not from an overflow in your relationship with Jesus. Worse still, you will constantly struggle with feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy because you never seem to be doing enough or being enough.
When Christ is the centre of your being and behaving, then you will be faithful, consistent and diligent in everything you do, whether you are with people or by yourself. This is what true service to the Lord looks like—having a spirit of excellence that is always willing to go the extra mile in serving others.
Am I learning to be like Christ in how I serve others?
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
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