"Cease striving and know that I am God..." (Psalm 46:10)
A life with God, a life of service, a life of Godliness is not a life of striving. In the church culture, there is a drive to strive. The 20% who do 80% of the work are exposing their families to a drug culture--where they are drug to church every time the doors are open. We meet, greet, teach, clean, sing, and serve 10-20 hours a week in our local churches. Our families, personal schedules, even our work schedules revolve around the priority of service to our local church. I am a part of that culture. And, yet, I am learning something new. The outside may appear the same, but the inward motivation and thinking are changing.
I have come to realize that a life of service is a life of rest. It is, simply, walk by by faith one day, one hour, at a time. It is depending on God not only to see what needs to be done, but with the confidence that He will empower and equip me for His work. The only work, then, is an exertion that is directed, empowered, and undergirded by God Himself. How hard can it be? It is impossible.
In all honesty, I like to strive. Striving may bring failure, but it also brings achievement, honor, recognition. To lay aside striving is to lay aside my personal means to recognition and achievement. To stop seeking self-gain and depend wholly on the Master is a God-sized task. Only God can replace my desire to strive. I cannot. It is too much a part of who I am.
To surrender my plans and desires requires a renewing of my mind. Jim Berg (Changed Into His Image) tells us it is spending time in God's Word to get a dose of reality. Jim's book explains from the Bible how to apply the principles of putting off my self, renewing my mind, and putting on Godliness.
Once the desire has been replaced (repeatedly, and only on a short-term basis, again and again), God's empowering and enabling is a constant process. I must continue to complete the tasks set before me in faith that God has custom-designed each task and set of circumstances. When I know the objective--the be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-31)--the task before me is simply a vehicle, not an outcome. The goal is to depend on God, by His Spirit, to respond in a way that is loving, kind, and joyful, maintaining peace, gentleness, and faithfulness even as my Savior did (and does).
Cease striving and God will show Himself. He is not glorified or magnified by my self effort. He alone is God. How can I serve, honor, and magnify Him? By resting, waiting, and depending on Him to accomplish His will. By being a conduit of His love and grace. By remaining transparent, invisible, so others will see the Creator in place of the image He created. Service is not striving, it is resting--knowing He is God.