Devotional “As One That Serves”

“There was a man sent from God whose name was John. The same came for a witness to bear witness of the Light that all through him might believe” (John 1:6). In John we might consider some principles as to the marks of a true servant.

First, he (John) came from God. In order to do this, we might first be with God. Alas! This is the weak point with so many. The excitement of service has an attraction for the natural tastes which the holy calm of the sanctuary does not produce. In one way service makes nothing of us, for in the presence of God we find that in ourselves we are nothing. Men are needed who are really with God. There is no real freshness if we are not with our Father. Our hearts lose their divine sensibilities, we drop down to the level of things around us, and service becomes more or less formal and mechanistic (our service to others effects not our manner of fellowship with God, but our manner of fellowship with God effects our service to others—NC).

The most glorious and soul-stirring realities are soon held as mere doctrines, and of course are preached as they are held. Then very soon the servant begins to feel a complacent self-satisfaction as to his service, which is not disturbed even by the lack of any manifest blessing. On the other hand, if we are with our Father, we are in spiritual reality as to our own experience. We do not deceive ourselves as to the measure of our progress, gift or faith. We think “soberly” (Rom 12:3) as we ought to think. Then it is with God that we learn His love, His unmeasured grace, His glorious purposes, His great thoughts concerning the Lord Jesus, the reality of the Spirit’s power, and many other things which are accepted in theory by many but known as realities by all too few (though genuinely saved, but not yet in the intended mature fellowship with God, which will come with time—NC).

Then, having been with our Father in the secret of His presence, we can come from Him in the reality of what we have learned within the veil, to serve in a world like this. We do not then measure the Enemy’s power against our weakness, but against God. We do not put on the armor which others have worn, or follow in the beaten track where other servants have trod. We do not confer with flesh and blood as to the scope and character of our service (2Co 10:12—NC).

There is an originality about every servant who comes from the Father. He does not fashion two servants in the same mold—that is man’s work—and just in proportion as we are formed in the sanctuary, each will have his own peculiar fitness for his own service, and such stamp will be upon it that faith will recognize that it comes from God.

The second mark of a true servant of God is that he is consciously nothing in himself. John could speak of himself as only a “voice,” and a greater than John was consciously “less than the least of all saints” (Eph 3:8). The moment we think ourselves to be anything (Gal 6:3), we are out of the servant’s true position and spirit (John 13:16). The more worthy we are of the Lord’s commendation (2 Cor 10:18), the less we think of ourselves.

The third mark of a true servant of the Lord is that he is a “witness.” He speaks of that which he has seen (1 John 1:3) and known for himself. It was said to Paul that he was to be “a witness of these things which thou hast seen” (Acts 26:16). We may minister things which we have never entered into ourselves, but we cannot be witnesses of them. Hence the deep importance of cultivating communion with the Father, and increased intimacy with the Lord Jesus. Whether it be the terror of the Lord, the love of the Father, the value of the Lord Jesus’ work, or the blessings which faith enjoys, we must ourselves have already came into that which we share with others, or we become lecturers rather than witnesses.

—Charles Andrew Coates (1862-1945)

“None but the Hungry Heart” devotional for 5-19. ABIDING PRAYER


“If I ask anything of God, and have received His answer, I then act with assurance, with the conviction that I am in the path of His will; I am happy and contented. If I meet with some difficulty, this does not stop me; it is only an obstacle which faith has to surmount.

“But if I have not this certainty before I begin, I am in indecision, I know not what to do. There may be a trial of my faith, or it may be that I ought not to do what I am doing. I am in suspense, and I hesitate; even if I am doing the will of God, I am not sure about it, and I am not happy. I ought therefore to be assured that I am doing His will before I begin to act.” -J.N.D.


Asking God “according to His will” (1Jo 5:14) is not in the sense of something specific but with everything that is in agreement with His general revealed (in His Word) will. An example could be one who is wondering if it is acceptable with God to divorce a spouse because of having greater affections for another. If we are too moved by our sensual attributes (concerning any issue) we will be misled into attempting to justify sin, and miss God’s intention concerning His desire. Regardless the mistake in our judgement, I believe He eventually ensures we learn the truth and correctness of His will (given time - Eph 5:17); He would not allow those who are His to continue in ignorance of His heart’s desire for each. —NC

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