Joy in Servanthood


PrayerThe Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake (Psalms 23:1-3).  Lord, help us, as a servant, to better understand Your plan for our lives.  Guide us as we learn to walk in Your example.  Give us opportunities today to serve You and others.  Amen.

Main Scripture: Read Philippians 1:1-5.

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now (Philippians 1:1-5).

Associated Scriptures:

James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (James 1:1, NASB).

Walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10, NKJV).

Correlative Quotes:

We joy in God.  No man ever rejoices in God except the man who receives the atonement by Jesus Christ.  We are glad that we have a God who can do all things on our behalf![1] – Charles Spurgeon

The passion of Christianity comes from deliberately signing away my own rights and becoming a bondservant of Jesus Christ. Until I do that, I will not begin to be a saint.[2] – Oswald Chambers

…think, first, that the apostle speaks of the church of Philippi as of a people whom he always remembered with joy. Secondly, as of a people whom he regarded with confidence, for he says of them, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” And thirdly, we perceive that he viewed them as a people concerning whom he gave all the glory to God alone. This fact is very conspicuous throughout the whole passage.[3] – Charles Spurgeon


Paul was the quintessential servant.  He served God and served others in a humble and loving way.  Yet Paul never hesitated to speak the truth in love to others in any circumstance (Romans 1:16). 

As far as we can understand from the Bible, there is no other minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ who has made a greater impact on the world than Paul.  He understood his calling to the gentiles and was obedient to it.  He carried out that calling with relentless passion and persistence.  Paul continued his work for God despite the obstacles that were laid before him.  He was a slave to the spreading of the Gospel.  Finally, Paul continually referred to himself as a bondservant of Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:1, Galatians 1:10, Philippians 2:7, and Titus 1:1)  

The Greek word in the New Testament and the Hebrew word in the Old Testament have similar meanings.  They are translated as bondservant, servant, or slave in both testaments.  The word bondservant often refers to a person who chooses to be slave and in love binds himself to his master for life.[4]

What does it mean to be a bondservant of Christ? 

  1. The Basis for Servanthood: Philippians 1:1
  • They are obedient to Jesus: Romans 6:12 (NKJV) tells us: “do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.”. The apostle Paul adds in Romans 12:2 (NKJV): “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.”
  • They act for Jesus: 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NKJV) encourages us: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
  • They are Dependent on Jesus: Hebrews 4:14-15 emphasizes that our dependent position is based on Christ’s understanding of our condition: “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (NKJV)
  1. The Benefits of Servanthood: Philippians 1:2-5
  • They are granted grace from God: (vs. 2), grace to you.
  • They have peace with God: (vs. 2), peace for life.
  • They receive special blessings from God: (vs. 3), every remembrance of you.
  • Their ministry brings the joy of God always: (vs. 4), making request for you all with joy.
  • They are joint heirs with God and those who they serve: (vs. 5) your fellowship in the gospel.
  1. The Blessings of Servanthood:

In Philippians 1:6, God has promised that He will: “finish the work that He has begun in you.”  We will receive eternal life when we have finished this race on earth.  Because of this promise in vs. 5 we have A closer personal relationship with God: Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV) says: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, …for you serve the Lord Christ.”

Unity within the fellowship: Ephesians 4:1-3 explains: “…walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

A more effective relationship with others: Colossians 3:14-15 teaches: “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.”

Summary Statement:

Being God’s servant is a natural outcome of living a Spirit filled life.  Living in the Spirt leads to obedience. When we walk with Christ, we will receive His benefits and experience the blessings of Servanthood.  The Holy Spirit is the giver of Joy.  Obedience to God is a catalyst to the sharing of that joy.  The power is ours through the Holy Spirit. The choice is ours through the Grace of God.

Lessons within the Lesson:

How do we become God’s servant?

What are the requirements for servanthood?

What is an example of a time that you acted as God’s servant?

What was the impact of this experience on you? 

[1] Charles Spurgeon, Joy in a Reconciled God, Public Domain,, P. 6.

[2] Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest,, November 3, 2015, Fair Use Authorization, Section 107, of the Copyright Law.

[3] Charles Spurgeon, The Pastor’s Joy and Confidence, chs2154.pdf, P. 1.

[4] Adapted from the following articles and books:

  1. Jack Kelley, The Bond Servant, Christian Life, April 18th, 2015
  2. Bondservant,
  3. Servant, Smith's Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database, ©2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.
  4. Bondservant,,
  5. Bondservant,