Worship Isn’t Just for Church (Romans 12:1–2)
Worship is a way of life. Worship is not simply what we do for God in church; it is also who we arefor God in the world. Our behavior can inspire others to praise and thank the Lord (see Matthew 5:16; 2 Corinthians 9:11–13).
This entire chapter demonstrates how we can bring worship into our daily lives. Worship becomes our way of life as we:
- Allow God to transform our minds. In this way our allegiance is transferred from the world to God.
- Serve others with our gifts. God is honored by the full exercise of our gifts, for it displays his glory as our Creator. We should rejoice in these gifts and use them to accomplish God’s purposes.
- Reflect God’s love and grace to those around us. This is the second great commandment: that we love others as ourselves (see Matthew 22:39). In Romans 12:9–21, Paul gives us numerous examples that illustrate how we are to obey this commandment. Note that these are not simply humanitarian gestures. They are acts of worship, acts that please and honor God.
Putting It into Practice
Review Romans 12. Have you offered your entire self for the daily worship of God? If not, what has kept you from doing so? This is the starting place for our walk with God. Spiritual renewal begins with giving ourselves completely to God. Consider the three primary ways mentioned here to bring worship into daily life. Which of these ways least characterizes your behavior? Make specific plans for worshiping God more fully in this area in your life.
Taken from NIV Spiritual Renewal Study Bible
The Faith That Magnifies Grace
I do not nullify the grace of God. (Galatians 2:21)
When I lost my footing as a little boy in the undertow at the beach, I felt as if I were going to be dragged to the middle of the ocean in an instant.
It was a terrifying thing. I tried to get my bearings and figure out which way was up. But I couldn’t get my feet on the ground and the current was too strong to swim. I wasn’t a good swimmer anyway.
In my panic I thought of only one thing: Could someone help me? But I couldn’t even call out from under the water.
When I felt my father’s hand take hold of my upper arm like a mighty vice grip, it was the sweetest feeling in the world. I yielded entirely to being overpowered by his strength. I reveled in being picked up at his will. I did not resist.
The thought did not enter my mind that I should try to show that things aren’t so bad; or that I should add my strength to my dad’s arm. All I thought was, Yes! I need you! I thank you! I love your strength! I love your initiative! I love your grip! You are great!
In that spirit of yielded affection, one cannot boast. I call that yielded affection “faith.” And my father was the embodiment of the future grace that I craved under the water. This is the faith that magnifies grace.
As we ponder how to live the Christian life, the uppermost thought should be: How can I magnify rather than nullify the grace of God? Paul answers this question in Galatians 2:20–21, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God.”
Why does his life not nullify the grace of God? Because he lives by faith in the Son of God. Faith calls all attention to grace and magnifies it, rather than nullifying it.
Job continues to defend his innocence while he specifically addresses the points brought up by Eliphaz.
“As for all of you, come back with a better argument, though I still won’t find a wise man among you. My days are over. My hopes have disappeared. My heart’s desires are broken. These men say that night is day; they claim that the darkness is light. What if I go to the grave and make my bed in darkness? What if I call the grave my father, and the maggot my mother or my sister? Where then is my hope? Can anyone find it? No, my hope will go down with me to the grave. We will rest together in the dust!”
Job’s three friends had reputations for being wise, but Job could not find wisdom in anything that they were saying. Later, God would back up Job’s assertion when he condemned these men for misrepresenting his divine character (Job 42:7).
Obviously Job’s three friends had a faulty view of wisdom. They assumed that because they were prosperous and successful, God must be pleased with the way they were living and thinking—that prosperity is a reward for good living. Job, however, told his friends that they were starting with the wrong idea because earthly success and prosperity are not proof of faith in God. On the flipside, trouble and affliction do not prove faithlessness. That is, we shouldn’t assume that suffering always occurs because of a person’s sin.
The truly wise person knows that wisdom comes from God alone, not from human successes or failures. And the truly wise person remains faithful to God. God’s wisdom proved superior to that of Job and all his friends.
Job was giving up hope of any future restoration of wealth and family and wrapping himself in thoughts of death and the rest from grief and pain it promised. The rewards that Job’s friends described were all related to this present life. They were silent about the possibility of life after death. We must not evaluate life only in terms of this present world when God promises a never-ending, wonderful future to those who are faithful to him.
Ask God for wisdom and to help you keep your focus on the reality of eternal life.
Streams in the Desert – June 2
Against hope Abraham believed in hope with the result that he became the father of many nations according to the pronouncement, “so will your descendants be.” Without being weak in faith, he considered his own body as dead (because he was about one hundred years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. — Rom 4:18-19
We shall never forget a remark that George Mueller once made to a gentleman who had asked him the best way to have strong faith.
“The only way,” replied the patriarch of faith, “to learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.” This is very true. The time to trust is when all else fails.
Dear one, you scarcely realize the value of your present opportunity; if you are passing through great afflictions you are in the very soul of the strongest faith, and if you will only let go, He will teach you in these hours the mightiest hold upon His throne which you can ever know.
“Be not afraid, only believe.” And if you are afraid, just look up and say, “What time I am afraid I will trust in thee,” and you will yet thank God for the school of sorrow which was to you the school of faith.
–A. B. Simpson
“Great faith must have great trials.”
“God’s greatest gifts come through travail. Whether we look into the spiritual or temporal sphere, can we discover anything, any great reform, any beneficent discovery, any soul-awakening revival, which did not come through the toils and tears, the vigils and blood-shedding of men and women whose sufferings were the pangs of its birth? If the temple of God is raised, David must bear sore afflictions; if the Gospel of the grace of God is to be disentangled from Jewish tradition, Paul’s life must be one long agony.”
“Take heart, O weary, burdened one, bowed down
Beneath thy cross;
Remember that thy greatest gain may come
Through greatest loss.
Thy life is nobler for a sacrifice,
And more divine.
Acres of bloom are crushed to make a drop
Of perfume fine.
“Because of storms that lash the ocean waves,
The waters there
Keep purer than if the heavens o’erhead
Were always fair.
The brightest banner of the skies floats not
At noonday warm;
The rainbow traileth after thunder-clouds,
And after storm.”
A Small Piece of the Puzzle
Revenge belongs to God. If vengeance is God’s, then it is not ours. God has not asked us to settle the score or get even. Ever.
Why? The answer is found in Joseph’s statement: “You meant to hurt me, but God turned your evil into good to save the lives of many people, which is being done.”
Forgiveness comes easier with a wide-angle lens. Joseph uses one to get the whole picture. He refuses to focus on the betrayal of his brothers without also seeing the loyalty of his God.
It always helps to see the big picture.
Some time ago I was in an airport lobby when I saw an acquaintance enter. He was a man I hadn’t seen in a while but had thought about often. He’d been through a divorce, and I was close enough to it to know that he deserved some of the blame.
I noticed he was not alone. Beside him was a woman. Why, that scoundrel! Just a few months out and here he has another lady?
Any thought of greeting him disappeared as I passed judgment on his character. But then he saw me. He waved at me. He motioned me over. I was caught. I was trapped. I’d have to go visit with the reprobate. So I did.
“Max, meet my aunt and her husband.”
I gulped. I hadn’t noticed the man.
“We’re on our way to a family reunion. I know they would really like to meet you.”
“We use your books in our home Bible study,” my friend’s uncle spoke up. “You’ve got some great insights.”
“If only you knew,” I said to myself. I had committed a common sin of the unforgiving. I had cast a vote without knowing the story.
To forgive someone is to admit our limitations. We’ve been given only one piece of life’s jigsaw puzzle. Only God has the cover of the box. To forgive someone is to display reverence. Forgiveness is not saying the one who hurt you was right. Forgiveness is stating that God is fair and he will do what is right.
After all, don’t we have enough things to do without trying to do God’s work too?