What does a “reasonable service” mean in the Bible?

Author: BibleAsk Team


“Reasonable Service

The term “reasonable service” is found in Romans 12:1, where the apostle Paul exhorts believers to present their bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. Let us examine closely the meaning of the phrase “reasonable service.”

Wholehearted Devotion and Surrender

The concept of reasonable service entails a complete surrender of oneself to God, offering every aspect of one’s life—body, mind, and spirit—as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). It involves a deliberate choice to prioritize God’s will and purposes above one’s own desires and interests, recognizing God’s lordship over every area of life (Matthew 22:37; Galatians 2:20). Reasonable service requires wholehearted devotion, characterized by love, faithfulness, and obedience to God’s commandments (Deuteronomy 6:5; John 14:15; 1 John 5:3).

The Bible consistently emphasizes the importance of wholehearted devotion and surrender to God. In both the Old and New Testaments, the scriptures call believers to love and serve the Lord with an undivided heart. Deuteronomy 6:5 encapsulates this sentiment, urging followers to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” This command echoes throughout various passages, illustrating the biblical expectation of a complete and genuine commitment. The Bible teaches that true worship involves offering oneself wholly to God, trusting His wisdom and authority. The narratives of biblical figures like Abraham, who obediently followed God’s call, exemplify the profound impact of wholehearted devotion and surrender. These principles are foundational to the Christian faith, emphasizing a relationship with God characterized by love, trust, and an unwavering commitment to His divine purpose.

Holiness and Consecration

Reasonable service involves a commitment to holiness and consecration, setting oneself apart from the ways of the world and dedicating oneself to God’s righteousness and purity (1 Peter 1:15-16). It entails the continual process of sanctification, whereby believers are transformed by the renewing of their minds and conforming to the image of Christ (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Reasonable service requires integrity, honesty, and moral uprightness in all dealings, reflecting the character of God and bearing witness to his holiness (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7).

Leviticus 11:44 articulates God’s command for holiness: “For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.” This directive emphasizes the divine call for believers to embody a set-apart and morally upright life that mirrors the character of God. The notion of consecration is closely tied to holiness, as seen in Romans 12:1, urging believers to present themselves as “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.” This act of consecration involves dedicating one’s entire being to God’s service. Throughout the Bible, the process of consecration signifies a deliberate separation from worldly influences and a commitment to living in accordance with God’s standards. As believers engage in the pursuit of holiness and consecration, they seek a transformed and sanctified life, consecrating themselves wholly to God’s purpose and glory.

Faithfulness and Stewardship

Reasonable service encompasses faithful stewardship of the gifts, talents, and resources entrusted to believers by God (1 Peter 4:10). It involves using one’s abilities and opportunities for the glory of God and the advancement of his kingdom, seeking to be fruitful and effective in fulfilling God’s purposes (Colossians 3:23-24; Ephesians 2:10). Reasonable service requires diligence, perseverance, and accountability in the use of time, talents, and treasures, recognizing that all things ultimately belong to God and are to be used for his honor and glory (1 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Peter 4:11).

In terms of faithfulness, passages like Psalm 119:90 declare, “Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides.” This verse underscores the enduring and unwavering faithfulness of God, setting an example for believers to emulate. In the realm of stewardship, the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:21 illustrates the importance of faithful stewardship: “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'” This parable emphasizes the responsibility of believers to faithfully manage the resources and gifts entrusted to them by God. Combining faithfulness and stewardship, the Bible encourages believers to manage their lives and resources in a manner that reflects fidelity to God’s principles, acknowledging that faithful stewardship leads to a commendation from the Lord and a share in His joy.

Sacrificial Love and Service

Reasonable service is characterized by sacrificial love and service toward God and others, following the example of Jesus Christ, who laid down his life for the redemption of humanity (John 15:13; Philippians 2:5-8). It involves selflessly serving others, meeting their needs, and sharing the message of God’s love and grace with a spirit of humility and compassion (Matthew 20:26-28; Galatians 5:13). Reasonable service includes caring for the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized, seeking justice, mercy, and reconciliation in a broken and hurting world (Micah 6:8; James 1:27; Matthew 25:35-40).

In terms of service, the Bible underscores the importance of selfless dedication to others. In Galatians 5:13, the apostle Paul encourages believers, saying, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” This verse emphasizes that freedom in Christ is not a license for self-indulgence but an opportunity to serve others with love.

Renewal and Transformation

Reasonable service necessitates ongoing spiritual growth, renewal, and transformation through the study of God’s Word, prayer, worship, and fellowship with other believers (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Ephesians 5:18-20; Hebrews 10:24-25). It requires humility and openness to the leading of the Holy Spirit, allowing him to convict, teach, and empower believers to live lives that are pleasing to God (John 16:13; Galatians 5:22-23; Romans 8:14).

Romans 12:2 presents a powerful perspective on transformation: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” This verse encourages believers to undergo a transformative process by renewing their minds, emphasizing the importance of aligning one’s thoughts and perspectives with God’s truth.

The concept of renewal is also addressed in 2 Corinthians 4:16, which states, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” Here, the Bible speaks to the ongoing, internal renewal that occurs within the believer through a relationship with God.

The theme of transformation is further emphasized in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” This verse highlights the profound change that takes place in an individual’s life when they come into a relationship with Christ, experiencing a transformative rebirth.

Healthful Living

The Christian performs an act of spiritual worship by offering to God a holy and healthy body, along with a consecrated mind and heart, because by so doing he pens the way for the full restoration in him of the divine image (Genesis 1:26-27). It is an act of spiritual service to keep the physical powers in the best possible state.

The reason is that the Christian glorifies God in his body (1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31) by serving as a healthy example of God’s saving grace and by having more strength and stamina for ministry. The court of Babylon saw in Daniel and his companions an example of the harmonious development of physical, mental, and spiritual faculties. Thus, their lives were an illustration of what God will do for those who yield themselves to His instructions (Daniel 1:12, 18).

Conclusion

Reasonable service is a foundational principle of Christian discipleship, calling believers to wholehearted devotion, surrender, and service to God. It encompasses holiness, faithfulness, sacrificial love, transformation and healthful living, as believers seek to honor God with their lives and make a positive impact on the world around them.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Leave a Comment