Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Whole-Hearted Effort

Whole-Hearted Effort
“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).

To understand the concept of worship we must allow God’s love to develop a feeling of reverence for Him and His divine attributes. As humans, we tend to be more focused on the physical things in life. One example of this haphazard mindset is how we can be more concerned with getting to worship service than with what we offer to God in worship. We must always remember that God is Spirit and our efforts to please Him must be offered with a sincere heart that lives according to the Spirit’s guidance (Romans 8:13).

Paul reminds us to keep focus on our spiritual service: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1). We should be motivated to live in a sacrificial way, giving every effort to be transformed into the image of His Son. He is not only speaking of a physical but a spiritual sacrifice being offered by denying the physical desires of our flesh to serve our God without wavering. God has given us the opportunity to serve Him, but to do that we must stay focused on His life.

To accept God’s life of sacrifice, service and surrender, we must be willing to humble ourselves to His grace. The first recording of an offering to God in worship comes with the story of Cain and Abel. Abel’s offering reveals some spiritual treasures of true worship: “Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering” (Genesis 4:4). Notice how God deals with man concerning his worship. The Hebrew word used for “had regard” actually means “to look at.” God “looked at” the sincerity (or heart) of the worshiper before He noticed what was offered. God wants our hearts first and foremost.

Sometimes we can become morally blinded when it comes to our service to God. Paul wrote of the people outside of Christ and said they walk “in the futility of their mind” (Ephesians 4:17). These words display a sense of ignorance or darkness in those outside of Christ. But in verse 20, the contrast shows that those in Christ are different as they serve God through striving for a deeper relationship with Him. They are motivated by His love to learn how to achieve the most from this divine love. But desiring to serve God is not without opposition. Satan always tempts us to fall prey to his purpose by choosing to entertain his desires for us instead of sacrificing the flesh’s desire to please God.

When we come to worship God we must come with a devoted heart to His way, His truth, and His life. We cannot come with one foot in the worship service and one foot in the restaurant door. Our hearts and minds must be totally focused on the One who makes life available to the true worshiper. Our hearts should be filled with reverence as we remember the great work done through us and for us by the living Savior that died for us on that cross. And this sacrificial way of life goes beyond the worship assembly. Jesus said, “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:16). Let’s strive to give a whole-hearted effort to reveal the life that makes God proud by avoiding the temptation to live in a way that makes Him sick.

In His Love,
Cub

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