Creflo Dollar - The Pathway to Success - Part 6
The world is searching for significance in all of the wrong places and in all of the wrong ways, and a search for significance, what it does, it naturally produces the opposite of servanthood. When all you're in it for is meaning in your life and value and a search for your significance, and what happens is it's the opposite of servanthood, which is extreme selfishness and abnormal behavior. That's what's gonna come out of it. When you begin to serve out of that motive, out of the motive of searching for your significance, it has the opposite effect of servanthood and it produces extreme selfishness, it produces abnormal behavior.
And so, many people serve in various capacities in the church from a host of false agendas. Listen to me now. A lot of people serve in various capacities in church, when they're in the building, but they do it from a host of false agendas, false agendas. I'm reminded of this Scripture, I think I wanna share it with you, in Romans chapter 12, verses 1 through 9, because what we're doing is sharing this so it can be a part of renewing your mind. And you gotta renew your mind out of this pursuit of self-love, in a sense. And listen, understand, it's important to love yourself, I know, I know. You know, love others as you love yourself. I get all of that. But you know what I'm saying. It's this type of self love that says, "I need power, I need praise, I need to be recognized, I need rank, I need position, I need for somebody to see me serving and now congratulate me. I need for somebody to look at who I'm serving and now think of me higher than what they used to think of me of".
All of these false agendas, and all of it has to be something that's got to look at. So now, verse 1 talks about our full dedication to God. He says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service". So he says, "In view of the mercies of God," that the previous chapter talked about, he said, "the least you can do is dedicate your whole life to me, you know, not just being there in spirit but I want your body there also. The least you can do is dedicate yourself". And then he says: And before this dedication can come to pass, verse 2 has to come to pass. You can't be conformed to this world. And you can't allow your thinking to be conformed to this world. And you can't allow, you know, your hunger to be validated, being conforming, you know, you're conforming with the world and you're doing things so you can, you know, get applause by men.
Like I said the last series, that's the pride of life. You're still working on things to make it seem like you're important. You wanna be important to people. And see, that's conforming to the world. And he says, "Don't be conformed to this world; be transformed," or changed, how? "By the renewing of your mind". Be transformed and changed, be a person that, you know, you can serve God out of a pure heart because you're in love with God and you're in love with the kingdom and you're in love with what matters to Jesus. So it's gonna require a transformation, it's gonna require a change of heart, change of mind, change of direction, and he says, "You do that by renewing your mind".
Hopefully, by seeing all of these Scriptures and hearing a series on servanthood, it's gonna help you to begin to initiate renewing your mind the right way so you can serve the right way. He says, "Transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God," c'mon, "for I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, do not think of himself," don't think of yourself, "more highly than you ought to think. Don't think more highly of yourself than you ought to think; but to think soberly". That means you're not intoxicated in your thinking. He says when you think higher of yourself than you ought to think, you're intoxicated. You're like a drunken man thinking out of balance. He says, "But be sober, according as God has dealt to every man," what? "A measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body," check this out, "and all members have not the same office".
Go on. They're not the same office. "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith," 7, "or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on his exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness". Verse 9 is what I'm after: "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good". Now, verse 9, look at this in the Amplified because what he is saying is let love be without hypocrisy. Be real about your love. Be real about your love. He says, "Let your love be sincere, let it be a real thing," man. Let your love be sincere. Let it be a real thing. Let your servanthood be sincere. Let it be a real thing. "Hate what is evil loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness, but hold fast to that which is good".
Let it be real. Let it be real. Let your service to God, let your service to the kingdom, let your service to one another, let your love that you're showing to one another through servanthood. Let it be real. Let it be without hypocrisy because what happens, if you're only serving for the power, the rank, the position, only serving to be valued by others who see you, then your service is with hypocrisy and he said let it be without hypocrisy. So if we are not extremely careful, and this is so serious. And if we're not constantly checking our motives, we could be fooling ourselves. And I don't want you fooling yourselves. I don't want you fooling yourself. I mean, listen, I'm not trying to make anybody mad or make anybody feel guilty or anything like that, I'm just trying to say, "Check yourself out". Check your motive out. Check out why you do what you do. Look in an honest mirror and ask yourself, "Why am I doing what I do"? That's a big deal, man. A big deal.
So let's be careful. Let's check out our motives. Listen, the most powerful thing you can do on a day-to-day basis is to check out your motives. Check out your motives because I guarantee you, when those motives go unfulfilled, there's gonna be a lot of division and bitterness and all kinds of things because you didn't get the wrong motives. And then you end up quitting and you'll be mad at ministry and mad at church and mad at me and mad at everybody because you did what you did out of the wrong motive because what happens is, if the truth be told, if you do something expecting something and then you don't get what you expect, then disappointment is the result. And sometimes that's what happens when you go into things with wrong motives. Here's another concern: we need to identify and we need to work towards serving the real needs of others, watch this, and not unhealthy, neurotic wants. Unhealthy, abnormal, neurotic wants.
We've got to be careful, even as servants, not to serve people because they want comfort and they want happiness, and not to serve people who want to be served. There's a big issue there, with serving people who wanna be served. I've met pastors who have people serving them because they wanna be served. Or serving them because it brings them comfort and it brings them happiness. And that's not what I'm talking about here. Many who follow Christ, they follow him for the wrong motives. Many who follow Christ, they follow Christ for food, they follow Christ for political reasons. In John 6:15, some followed because they thought that they could make him king, and Jesus knew what was in their hearts and he was, like, "I'm not doing that".
So, you know, you can follow, but are your motives right? I mean, when you join our church and you become a part of our ministry and you join a department, are you joining to be a servant so you can serve other people and the kingdom and God at the same time with the gifts and talents that he gave you, the anointing that he gave you for somebody else, or is there a motive? Is there a carefully planned motive that says, "Well, if I can start serving in the Vision Keeper then I can get closer to this, then I might get closer to Pastor, then, you know, I might be able to become his best friend, and then", and you got all these things that are going on, and they were, none of that happens. Now you're mad at church, you're mad at God, you're mad at everything, because you initiated a type of servanthood that had a selfish ending to it, a selfish ending to it.
And so we've got to make sure, and that's a big concern to me is that people are not serving other people based on their real needs. We've somehow gotten off and we're serving someone's unhealthy needs, someone's abnormal need. And just kind of saying, "Well, I'm just gonna serve just whatever". No, that's just not how that's supposed to go. I told you, I think last week, that God and the kingdom has got to be the foundation of your service, first of all. If that's not the foundation of why you do what you do, then you are probably gonna get caught up into something that's gonna be very hurtful, very painful, very neurotic, very abnormal, and very unhealthy, because we should not be trying to serve someone's unhealthy wants and desires just to make 'em happy, and to serve somebody that wants to be served, to serve somebody's narcissism. That's just not how that works, amen? So that's one of the concerns.
Now, let me talk to you about this one here and I'll go on with some stuff. But here's another concern. My concern, and I just mentioned it, is the negative consequences that come out of selfish service. The negative consequences that come out of selfish service. Service that is self-serving simply cannot hold up under the pressure. It can't hold up under the pressure of the ministry and the large dose of criticism that oftentime comes with it and goes with this territory of service. A lot of people don't understand that but when you serve others in the kingdom, there's an enormous amount of pressure and there's a lot of criticism that comes, and if you're doing it out of a selfish heart of serving, then you won't be able to stand under the pressure of all of that criticism and stuff that comes as a result of you serving. So it's gotta be out of the right motives.
So, eventually, this kind of self-seeking service will crumble under criticism because it's more concerned about self and it's more concerned about one's personal significance than with the needs of other people. And, man, as soon as you go online and somebody's dogging you out and calling you, you know, "That's just Pastor Dollar's little puppy," you know, they kick around. You'll crash under it because you're there with the wrong motives. In fact, if we fail to find our significance in Jesus, we will become obsessed with gaining recognition, because we won't find our significance in Jesus Christ, so we're just working real hard to get somebody to recognize us.
I remember a long time ago I had people in our Vision Keepers Department, they just wanted to stand up and be recognized; they weren't doing nothing. They would never serve the kingdom, they was only themselves. They just wanted people to know that they were Vision Keepers and they were standing up in front of the pulpit and they just, you know, wanted to be recognized and I'm telling you the danger in that. You know, you become obsessed with gaining recognition. And this will often lead to burnout. But not only will it lead to burnout, it'll lead to anger, it'll lead to bitterness and a heart that is poisoned against the ministry, a heart that's poisoned against the ministry, why? Because your service had selfish endings. And it was not out of a heart to serve. The consequences, the negative consequences, that come out of selfish service.
I've met so many people that have been poisoned against the ministry and poisoned against the church, simply because they didn't have pure motives in what they did. 'Cause when you do something, first of all, to serve God and the kingdom, that's what it's gotta be first of all. It's like, I've got to work as unto the Lord and then whatever happens on my job can't bother me because I'm doing this as unto the Lord, and so, likewise, when I come into a ministry and I begin to function and operate in an area of the ministry, whether it's singing or ushering or whatever it might be, I've got to make sure that I'm not bringing with me wrong motives with selfish ends because there are negative consequences that come and now you're upset with the church and you're poisoned and then you move to the next level of becoming an enemy of the cross and you're badmouthing preachers and you're talking about how bad the church is, and you're getting in a worse situation than even before because maybe you didn't know the negative consequences that arise when you decide to have self-service, or selfish service, there are negative consequences.
So I thought that was really cool to be able to share with you and to look at that because that's what's going on, that's when you look at some guy who's serving for a week and he's gone the next week because it's not going according to his plan. It's not working like he want it to work. "I mean, by now, you know, I thought I should have been in the pulpit presiding or something. By now, I thought I should have been singing the solo in the choir. By now, I thought I should be the guy that's driving the special speakers around. By now", see, you came in with wrong motives. It's just got to be simply, "I'm in it for the kingdom. I'm in it for God. And when I serve other people, I do it without hypocrisy," wow. Listen, I'm qualified to teach this. I've been serving for 40 years in different capacities. And in those capacities, one of the things that I've learned is when you set yourself up for disappointment because you have wrong motives, man, it leads to some very negative things. And you have to go at it the right way. And until you can go at it the right way, don't go at it. Until you are prepared to serve with a heart that's pure and have no motives, wrong motives, behind it, then you probably just need to hold up.
But then again, you know, Jesus is saying that "let the greatest amongst you be a servant", and if servanthood is gonna be the pathway to success, dude, I need to get this fixed. I need to get it fixed because success is waiting. The purpose and the plan of God is waiting on me. There's a path that's there. I have access to that path but for me to go down that pathway with the wrong motives, man, that's something we don't want, all right? Now, are there hindrances to developing a servanthood mentality? Are there gonna be things that will come against you developing a servanthood mentality? Then we probably need to look at some of 'em to get some kind of idea of what that's gonna be about. So, number one, the desire for status, we've mentioned that, or the desire to feel important, is a hindrance to developing a servant heart or a servanthood mentality. A desire for status or to feel important. A desire for status or to feel important.
Now, we've already seen in John chapter 13 the disciples at first refusing to take the towel. And so, because we wanna know who's the greatest amongst you. But when Christians fail to rest in who they are in Christ, first, when they fail to rest and be confident in who they are in Christ, they will constantly, constantly be battling the need for importance and value from within their own desire and felt need, because they have not settled the issue of their identity in who they are in Christ. And whatever you fail to settle in Christ Jesus become a hindrance. I mean, the desire for status is gonna be there. The desire to wanna be important or feel important is gonna be there, why? Because we fail to understand who we already are. We fail to rest in who we are in Christ, who we are in Christ. We're still trying to be something before other people, instead of who we are in Christ.
Look at 2 Corinthians 5:17. You're familiar with this Scripture, battling for the need of importance, battling to be important. 2 Corinthians chapter 5:17 says: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is," what? "He's a new creature: old things are," what? "Passed away; and behold, all things are become new". I'm a new creature. I'm in Christ. I am a new creature. I'm a new creation. I'm not the same as I used to be. I don't have to, you know, work hard to, you know, feel important. I'm important to God. I'm the apple of his eye. I've been accepted into his beloved. That's a powerful thing. It's a powerful truth. But if you don't receive who you are in Christ, if you don't receive your value in Christ, then you will constantly try to get it from other people. We think that happiness will come when we are treated in a certain way. But that's just not the case 'cause I don't know if you know it yet but there will always be those who do not treat us like we wanna be treated. There's always gonna be somebody who won't treat you the way you wanna be treated. And so, happiness shouldn't come based on, you know, how we're treated. If we're treated a certain way then I'm happy. When I'm not treated a certain way, I'm not happy. No, I've gotta settle all that in Christ Jesus, amen?
Here's the second hindrance to operating in the servanthood mentality, the second hindrance, number two. Human strategies to meet one's own felt needs. A bunch of human strategies to meet one's own felt need. This can be a hindrance to a servanthood mentality. Your own strategies to try to meet your own felt needs. So, our need and responsibility... here's what we need, listen to this, our need and responsibility is to trust God. That's what I need, I need to trust God for my acceptance. I need to trust God for my ability. I need to trust God for my production in life. I need to trust God for my strength in life. I don't need to come up with a strategy to try to meet my own felt needs. I need to trust God. God's already made all that available. I need to trust him.
Let me share some of those Scriptures I just quoted. Look at Ephesians chapter 1:6. I mean, when it comes to who I am, I don't need to come up with a strategy so I can believe that I'm loved by God. No, especially when he says this in Ephesians chapter 1:6. He says: "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved". I'm accepted. God has accepted me in the beloved. And so that's what I'm gonna believe. I don't need to come up with a human strategy. I need to just use the faith of what Jesus has already, you know, planned for my life.