The Bible has a number of verses that look at: service to God, serving Him with joy, and how and why we need to be wholehearted servants.
What the Bible says about serving God
Serving the Lord may be an act of worship and thanksgiving and it may also include dedicating time, talent, spiritual gifts and effort to do the work of the Lord and help others.
The Bible offers a lot of advice as it relates to serving God. It teaches us that the choice is ours when it comes to serving the Lord and if we do decide to follow God then we ought to keep His commandments and serve Him in faithfulness with humility.
Bible verses about Choosing to serve God
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15 NIV
When Joshua was speaking to the children of Israel, he reminded them of the goodness of God and all that the Lord did for them and their fathers before them.
He publicly announced that he, and his entire household has chosen to serve the Lord of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
At the end, Joshua gave the children of Israel a very important decision to make. In verse twenty-one of the chapter, the people responded to Joshua with a positive indication that they will serve the Lord.
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:24 NIV
It is impossible for us to serve two masters at the same time. This is because we will be faced with opposing interests and will have to decide one way or the other.
This is why the word of God points out the shortcomings of not placing all our devotion in one place. There is no sitting on the fence or being neutral when it comes to serving God.
We either reject Him or choose to serve Him wholeheartedly.
Bible verses about being steadfast and serving God
It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. Deuteronomy 13:4 NIV
If it is that you are conflicted as it relates to making a decision in who you ought to follow then this scripture passage has sound biblical guidance.
It is also a great text for individuals who are wavering between making that all important decision of committing their lives to Jesus Christ and being baptized.
In the more practical levels of our day-to-day Christian journey, this verse will help us to be faithful stewards of our time.
If you have to decide between making a deadline at work or committing to a responsibility at church remember that it is the Lord who you must follow.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV
As a servant of God, you are expected to fully commit to His service. As you give yourself fully to the work of Jesus Christ and labor for Him you should be resolute, immovable, and firmly grounded in faith.
Bible verses about Serveing God faithfully
But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24 NIV
This text is a reminder that we should be faithful to God as we serve Him. It is really nice to get employee of the month or some other award recognizing your faithfulness as an employee.
Nothing is wrong with that. As Christians, we should be disciplined and reflect godly traits at our workplace and all other areas of our lives.
We however, need to strike a balance in that we should not put anything else above God. The same amount of commitment dedicated at work, home, or school should be devoted to the Lord if not more.
He deserves nothing less than for us to serve him wholeheartedly, because He has been faithful to us and has done so much for us.
Bible verses about Serving with humility
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 NIV
Jesus set the perfect example for us when it comes to serving God. His time here on earth was not just about service but also self-sacrifice.
The best way to follow the example set by Christ Jesus is to put the interests of others above our own interests as we serve in the joy of the Lord.
It took great love for the Son of God to lay down His life for us and we in turn have to demonstrate acts of love to others.
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35 NIV
Jesus calls each and every one of us to be His disciples. This call is not one that gives us authority to put ourselves above others. Instead, it’s a call to humility and servitude.
As we answer the call of discipleship, we must position ourselves as good stewards of God who will put others first as we carry out good deeds and serve them.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40 NIV
Serving the Lord means that we are able to treat each other the same way He treats us. There is also a flip side to this as we should treat others the same way we would treat God.
The Lord is tender, merciful, and compassionate towards us and He wants us to treat each other this way. The will of God is to reward those who serve with compassion.
In verse thirty-four of the same chapter, we get a glimpse of what will happen to all those who act as faithful servants.
It states, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”.
What does Psalm say about serving the Lord with Gladness?
The Psalms have a number of verses that ascribes praise to God. Psalm 100 is a well-known chapter that tells us that the praise we give to God should be joyful and our service should exude gladness.
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Psalm 100:1-2 KJV
Joy and gladness are two words used in this psalm to describe how we should serve the Lord.
Whether we are in worship or carrying out a duty in service to the Most High we should do so with a positive attitude that reflects His graciousness towards us and His sovereignty over our lives.
In the final verse of this chapter reasons were given as to why we should serve with gladness. The English Standard Version of the Bible puts it this way, “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations”.
Importance of serving God with joy
These scripture quotes look at how we may be good stewards of God and the benefits of serving God with joy.
How to serve God with joy
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 NIV
There are a number of ways we may serve the Lord with gladness. According to the word of God we should give a good measure.
This text is saying that we should be liberal as we dedicate our worship, time, talent, gifts, and other contributions to the service of the Lord.
When we give liberally the Lord will bless us bountifully. The Lord knows our motives and the intentions of our hearts and He loves a cheerful giver.
We are told in 2 Corinthians 9:7 that faithful stewards of God should have a willing mind as they offer service.
The text states, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, ²⁴ since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24 NIV
This is another text that provides guidance on how to joyfully serve the Lord. It encourages us to be committed and wholehearted.
There is no need to limit our efforts because there is no doubt in our minds that the Lord will acknowledge the good things we do while serving others.
We serve the Lord with gladness because we will receive an inheritance.
Why serve God with joy?
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. ¹⁹ Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, ²⁰ and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 NIV
Jesus himself has given us the gospel commission to be co-laborers with Him. It is indeed a great joy to know that we were called to leave our comfort zones and share the gospel of God’s word with others under the supervision of the Holy Spirit.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 NIV
There is great joy in knowing that as a servant of God you are chosen, special, and set apart. This is why you are supposed to joyfully declare His praises because He has called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
Being a part of a chosen generation and a royal priesthood distinguishes you from others. Malachi 3:18 puts it this way, “And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not”.
Isaiah 43:10 also speaks to the fact that you are chosen for God’s service and this is yet another reason to be glad.
It states, “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me”. He is the only sovereign God and He has chosen you to serve Him and witness to others.
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. John 12:26 NIV
The passage provides assurance to all servants of God. There is hope that all who dedicate service to Jesus will one day be honored by the heavenly Father.
Hebrews 6:10 also gives a reason why each and every one who volunteers time, talent, and gifts to the Lord should be hopeful.
It says, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them”.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:5 NIV
David was joyful because He knew God protects His servants. He testified in this psalm that God kept him safe in the day of trouble. We can be joyful and hopeful because the Lord we serve is always faithful.
He extends immeasurable mercies towards us and blesses us immensely for choosing and serving Him. The first segment of Deuteronomy chapter 28 outlines God’s blessings for His people.
Verse 15 however forcefully mentions that there will be consequences for those who don’t follow His commands.
It notes, “However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you”.
How do you serve God with all your heart?
Jesus sets a great example of how to serve the Lord with all our heart. In following His example, we should be zealous, and obedient to God’s will as we dedicate our time and gifts to His service.
Bible verses about Loving God wholeheartedly
Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37 NIV
This text is very straightforward in telling us how we ought to love the Lord. We should commit our hearts, soul, and body to the Lord without hesitation or reservation.
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ³ Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-4 NIV
In the book of Hebrews followers of God are told to fix their eyes on Jesus. He considered the needs of humanity, left the splendor of heaven, endured the cross, and experienced death and separation from the Father to give us hope.
He gave His life for ours and serving Him wholeheartedly is just a small gesture to show we accept His atoning sacrifice.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1 NIV
The King James Version of this text uses the phrase reasonable service instead of proper worship.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. KJV
The use of words in these two translations help to show the point that serving God means doing good works for Him as well as ascribing praises to Him.
In serving God with all our heart we should submit our entire bodies to Him as a living sacrifice. We should be free from blemish as we lift up praises to Him or offer ourselves as instruments to be used in His service.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Romans 12:11 NIV
There is a requirement for us to be consistently and continually zealous when it comes to following the Lord and doing His will.
If we lose our zeal, we may fail to serve Him wholeheartedly and this may have dire consequences for our relationship with the Lord and those who we are expected to serve.
But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Joshua 22:5 NIV
Obedience to God’s commandments, a steadfast love for the Lord, and serving Him with all our hearts and souls is a representation of how we may express service to Him wholeheartedly.
Ephesians 6:6-7 supports this by stating that our motives should be aligned with God instead of being focused on what other people will think.
The English Standard Version forcefully puts it this way, “not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, ⁷ rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man”.
Bible verses about Serving with our time talents and gifts
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 NIV
We are expected to use the gifts that the Lord has endowed us with to bless, enrich, and empower others. We are to be faithful stewards of our time and talent and utilize them to help others.
Galatians 5:13 provides guidance about how to manage the time we have. It encourages us saying, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love”.
James 1:27 tells us to look after individuals who are less fortunate. It reminds us that, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world”.
The Bible tells us to serve the Lord with gladness. In doing so we need to decide that we are going to serve God, follow Jesus’ example of self-sacrifice and humility, and serve God wholeheartedly.