One of the central characteristics of the wise man in the book of Proverbs is the way he seeks the input of wise people in his life. “A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel” (1:5).
The motivation to seek it comes entirely from the fear of the Lord. He says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7).
We are called to love God with all we have and all we are. Paul writes “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1).
Notice that spiritual worship is accomplished with the body. We were created soul and body, and these can be helpful distinguished, but not separated. Only death severs the body from the soul, and that only temporarily. To put the two at odds in this life is to sin.
Our bodies are living sacrifices used for spiritual worship. This includes your hands, hair, eyes, legs, pants, shoes and make-up, everything. When you come to God, you bring it all, and nothing is irrelevant. We know that man can only see the outside, while God looks on the heart. But it doesn’t follow from this that God doesn’t also see the outside. He does, and he wants the two to go together in seamless love. When Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for being clean on the outside but filthy on the inside, the solution was not to reverse them. The answer was to the clean the inside. Hypocrisy can work either way, loving God with our internal emotions but doing nothing for him with our bodies, or despising him in our hearts and showing up for church all smiles anyway.
The grace of God works all the way down, allowing us to love and worship God with everything we have. Don’t minimize or neglect to present your body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God both here in worship and all week long.
King David lived a life on the run, fighting for his life. He killed lions as a shepherd, Goliath as a young warrior, he fled from Saul numerous times in fear of his life, he battled the Amalekites as an exile in Philistia after they took the women and children of Ziklag, and after he was established as king in Israel he fled from his own son Absalom who stole the throne. In the midst of all these troubles, what motivated him? What did he long for most during his hectic life? For what did he consistently desire?
In Ps. 27:4 he says, “One thing have I asked of the LORD, that I will seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire at his temple.” David wasn’t hoping for an apartment to live at the tabernacle so he could be there 24/7. He wanted to worship there Sabbath to Sabbath with God’s people, and to do this was to dwell with the Lord and behold his beauty all of his days.
We don’t worship once a week and work the other days because we only need to connect occasionally with God or because work is more important. Beholding the beauty of God with his saints is to bring him into every part of life, which is not to say that every part of life is the same kind of worship. David didn’t long for his small group or early morning prayer time in the same way. He longed for the beauty of the Lord in the called and assembled worship, but seeing this beauty filled all of his days, and he prayed for it always to do so. What if we felt the way David did? What if we beheld God’s beauty in the worship service and that beauty captured us so we desiree to do it our whole life? And what if at the end we could say we dwelt in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives? And what if we did this, and had a such a good time doing it, that it was naturally contagious and received by our kids and grandkids? These gifts are not far away but set in our laps, in the very worship services we attend. The question is whether we see Him.
“My caution to you is this: Do not assume you are good soil.
I think most American churchgoers are the soil that chokes the seed because of all the thorns. Thorns are anything that distracts us fom God. When we want God and a bunch of other stuff, then that means we have thorns in our soil. A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, sins, activities, favorite sports teams, addictions, or commitments are piled on top of it.
Most of us have too much in our lives. As David Goetz writes, “Too much of the good life ends up being toxic, deforming us spiritually.” A lot of things are good by themselves, but all of it together keeps us from living healthy, fruitful lives for God.”
“LUKEWARM PEOPLE attend church fairly regulalry. It is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians” do, so they go.
“The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men'” (Isa. 29:13). Continue reading
In the calendar that the church has developed over the centuries, this Sunday has been marked as Trinity Sunday. We love to learn and teach about the Trinity because in doing so we are learning about God himself, what the creator is like, and he turns out often to be utterly different than what we expected. Continue reading