Doing the work of God without striving title image

This is a complete guide to doing the work of God without striving.

In this post, I’ll show you a Biblical perspective of what it truly means to serve God from a place of rest.

Some of the questions we’ll answer include:

When God showed me these truths in the scripture, it radically changed my life and set me free from the burden of feeling like I had to perform to please God.

As a result, I’ve seen God produce more fruit in my life with less effort and less time than ever before.

Here’s what you need to know:

What does the Bible say about doing the works of God?

What does the Bible say about doing the work of God?

In order for us to understand what it means to serve God, we’re going to look at a scene in the old testament where God gives specific instructions to his priests on how they must minister to Him.

In Ezekiel 44, The Lord speaks about a group of priests called the sons of Zadok who were faithful to Him when Israel went astray.

As a result of their faithfulness, God gives these priests the privilege of ministering to Him in the Holy Place while all the other priests had to minister in the outer courts.

But Here’s the interesting part:

In order for them to even be able to come into the Holy Place to minister to God, there was one main requirement they had to follow.

Ezekiel 44:17-18 says:

“And it shall be, whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, that they shall put on linen garments; no wool shall come upon them while they minister within the gates of the inner court or within the house. They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen trousers on their bodies; they shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat.” 

Notice that last part:

“They shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat.”

benefits of working for God

God wanted his priests to minister to him out of a place of rest, where none of their own strength was being used and nothing they did would cause them to sweat.

Why?

If you look at Genesis 3:19, you’ll see that the sweat of the brow was actually a curse that came upon Adam (and humanity) when he sinned.

The curse of Adam's sin verse

It was never God’s original purpose for man to sweat in their ministry to Him.

Jesus came to this earth to restore that purpose and to take the burden off of doing the work with your own strength and striving.

He even gave us an example of how He did it in His own human life.

How did Jesus serve?

How did Jesus do the works of God?

Jesus is the perfect example of someone who fulfilled God’s purpose and will for His life to the fullest extent.

The best part is that He never relied on his own strength and performance to do God’s work.

Even though Jesus was (and is) God, He emptied himself and did not count himself equal to God.

Instead, the Bible says “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  (Philippians 2:8)

How did He humble himself by becoming obedient to the point of death?

It’s simple:

He never did anything by His own free human will.

Jesus never did anything outside the will of the Father image

For example, In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said:

“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

Jesus’ human will was that the Father would remove the cup of suffering and pain from Him.

Instead of doing His own will, Jesus surrendered it to the Father when He said:

“yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

When Jesus surrendered his will, God was glorified and we were saved through the cross.

But it wasn’t just in the Garden that Jesus surrendered His will, this is how He lived His whole life.

In John 5:19, Jesus said:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” 

And…

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” (John 14:10)

Who did the works?

It was always the Father and Holy Spirit who was dwelling in Jesus.

Bible verses for doing God's work

Jesus never relied on His own will to speak or do anything, but surrendered His will to the Father so that He could do the works through Him.

As a result, Jesus was never under any pressure to perform, never worried about how He would do God’s work, and walked in a constant state of peace in His ministry.

Now, think about this:

If Jesus did nothing by himself and we are called to be conformed into his image, then God also calls us to live a life that is completely surrendered to the Holy spirit.

How are we called to serve God?

How are we called to do the work of God?

In John 6:28, a group of people approach Jesus and ask Him a very important question:

Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”

In response, Jesus says:

“This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

John 6:29 Verse explained

That word “believe” can also be translated to entrust.

Jesus was saying that the work of God is to believe and entrust Him with your life.

Only then, will God’s work be done.

But what does it really mean to trust Jesus with your life?

In Luke 9:23 Jesus Said:

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Trusting Jesus with your life involves you denying yourself daily and letting him take the lead in every moment of your life.

To deny yourself means to give up your will, your choice, and your way to the Lord’s will.

defining your will

When your will, desires, and decisions are fully yielded to the Holy Spirit throughout your day, He will do His work through you.

The only thing that can get in the way of God doing all that He wants through you is your own free will.

He chooses to limit himself based on your free will agreement with Him and He will never force His will upon you. 

How?

In every moment of time, you have a choice to make:

Are you going to do what you think is best with your own understanding, or are you going to surrender your will to what the Holy Spirit wants to do?

your will versus God's will

This includes:

  • How you use your time
  • How you use the resources God has given you
  • Where you go and where you stay
  • Who you talk to and what you say
  • And more…

The problem with your will having it’s way is that it only produces your works, your goodness, and all the other things that come from you.

Even though it may look good from the outside, it doesn’t bring glory to God.

Jesus said that when the Spirit of truth comes, “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:14)

Who glorifies Jesus? The Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 64:6 says: “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.”

“All our righteous deeds” isn’t just talking about your salvation, but all that you do for God on your own efforts.

It doesn’t matter how good you are or how hard you try, your righteous deeds will never be good enough.

God will do the work for you if you let Him

The only time your will glorifies God is when it is completely surrendered to the will of the Father.

That’s good news!

Why?

If your own work doesn’t actually glorify God and it’s not up to you to perform, then that takes all the pressure off of you.

You never have to stress about fulfilling his will or trying to please him by putting unnecessary burdens upon yourself.

Instead, God just wants you to be His vessel.

2 Timothy 2:21 says:

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”

What is a vessel?

definition of a vessel in the Bible

A vessel is just a container (like a jar or a bucket) that holds stuff in it.

It doesn’t do anything else.

The master of the House is the one that uses the vessel to produce every good work.

As a vessel of God, there are only 2 things you can do:

Be filled and be poured out.

God wants to fill you with His Holy Spirit and pour out his spirit through you wherever He wishes.

In other words:

You just have to be open to allow him to fill you up and say Yes to what He wants to do so that He can glorify himself.

practical side of this post

How To Practically Apply This To Your Life

In Luke 11:1 it says:

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

After all the signs, miracles, and works that Jesus did, you would think that the disciples would ask Jesus to teach them about the work He did.

But no… 

The disciples asked Jesus about His prayer time because they knew that everything He did was the result of Him spending time alone in prayer with the Father.

It is the same for us:

Everything starts with our relationship with God in the secret place.

John 15:5 verse on bearing fruit

Whenever you spend time in God’s presence, He transforms you into His image and fills you with His spirit.

As you are filled with the Spirit, God begins to bring you into situations where He desires to minister to people through you (or pour out).

In every moment, all that God is looking for is that you are open to doing whatever He wants to do.

Even if you are afraid, have no desire, have no strength, don’t know how to do it or what to even say, don’t let that stop you from saying yes.

God isn’t limited by those things.

All He needs is your permission (free will) and He will do the rest.

Here’s an example:

I remember a time when I was on a mission trip in Spain and was serving at a local Ukrainian church that served Ukrainian refugees.

One day the pastor asked me to visit a church in another city with him to minister to the people there and to share the testimony of my life.

On that day, I had some of the worst back pain I’ve ever experienced in my life, which seemingly came out of nowhere.

When we arrived, I felt even worse than before. 

Not only was my back in serious pain, but now I had a headache and I felt completely off. I didn’t want to share anything and I didn’t really know where to start my testimony since I didn’t write anything down.

Right before I got up to share, I prayed to God and told Him that I couldn’t do it. I told him that if this is what He wanted to do, I surrender and say yes.

The moment I stepped up to speak, I felt the fire of God fall upon me. My whole body felt as if it was on fire and my lungs were burning when I spoke.

Words started to flow out of nowhere with power and everything that I felt earlier was replaced with boldness and energy.

As I shared my testimony, I saw the atmosphere change and a girl start to weep uncontrollably as the Holy spirit began to touch her.

It was truly a powerful moment.

All I did was say Yes and God did everything.

quote on obedience

Ever since then, God has taught me that the more I yield to the Holy Spirit, the more fruitful my life will be.

The less I rely on myself, the more freedom He has to glorify Jesus through me.

So here’s a word of advice:

Stop trying to do the work of God and let Him do it.

It’s so much better this way.

Center all of your attention on pursuing him and simply being open to what He wants to do.

You’ll notice that the opportunities to serve God will come to you and you will see God bear fruit through your life in amazing ways.

You will never have to worry about what ministry you should be in, what to say in a moment of time, or how you will accomplish something because He will take care of it all.

In Conclusion

To summarize it all, doing the work of God should never feel like a heavy burden in our lives. God is looking for his children to minister from a place of rest where He does all the heavy lifting.

In order for Him to do His work, He requires our free will to be completely surrendered to Him. 

All that He asks of us is that we are to be his vessels, open and willing to be used by him in every moment of time. 

The more time we spend in the presence of God, the more we are transformed into His image, filled with His Spirit, and become dependent upon Him to fulfill His will.

Now I want to hear from you:

Have you ever had a moment where it seemed like God did all the work for you? What did that look like?

or…

Have you ever felt a heavy burden in your ministry to the Lord? How did God take you out of that?

Let me know in the comments below!

Author

Valentyn Svit is the founder of Dude Disciple, a men's discipleship blog that focuses on raising up young leaders through practical biblical teaching. His heart is for young people to encounter the love of God, live a life radically surrendered to Jesus, and fulfill God's calling for their life.

2 Comments

  1. Ajahnique Dandy Reply

    This has been so helpful and refreshing! !
    Thank you.
    I’m finding that whenever I am getting frustrated, worn out or easily worn down something isn’t right and I see why now. It’s because all of that comes from the striving , and from a lack of trust that God is able to do the work but of course we both know that he can and all that you’ve said is proof that he can.
    Actually I remember one night I had to speak with a ladies group like you said and I was so worn down and tired but when it came time to do it he gave me strength. Just need to continue to submit moment by moment. Again thank you!!

    • Valentyn Svit Reply

      Ajahnique, That’s so amazing! I’m happy that the Lord has been teaching you on this even more because it takes the weight off of trying to do it yourself. He really does take care of everything if we just let Him.

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