Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Key to Our Spiritual Service of Worship

In Romans 12:3 Paul gives an instruction and admonition to all Christians, and it is, "I say to everyone of you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but think so as to have sound judgment."  The context of this verse is our spiritual service of worship and what is required of us to so that we can present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice.

What Paul is saying here is that in order for us to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice we must not be conformed to this world, but be being continually transformed by the renewing of our mind; and in the renewing of our mind we should be at that point where we don't think too highly (and mistakenly) about ourselves; but should think soundly, truthfully, and forthrightly about ourselves.  In other words we should be brutally honest with ourselves about not just our strengths, but also about our weaknesses and inadequacies, and all of this primarily applies to our spiritual lives; and Paul says this because of the tendency in  us all to think too highly, maybe even unrealistically, about own own strengths and abilities.

The Bible is quite clear about our spiritual weakness.  In Romans 6:19 Paul talks about the weakness of our flesh.  In 7:14-25 he talks about his own spiritual struggles and inconsistencies.  In II Corinthians 2:17 he questions his adequacy for the gospel ministry.  In II Corinthians 1:8 he talks about being burdened beyond his strength and despairing of life. In II Corinthians 7:5-6 he talks about being fearful and depressed.   

In Hebrews 3:13 we are warned not to be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  In Hebrews 5:12-14 we see that there are those who are still infants in the faith, and have to be taught the basics all over again. In Hebrews 12:1 we are told we have encumbrances to our faith and are easily entangled with sin.

In Philippians 3:15-16 Paul encourages us to not fall back in our faith, but to keep living by the same standard we have obtained.

In Galatians and Colossians Paul admonishes and warns those churches about the deception of the false teachers whom they have allowed to come into their midst.

In our flesh, we are no different than those who have gone before. So what should we do to think rightly, soundly and truthfully about ourselves.  What are the weaknesses in our flesh, that we need to be aware of, so that instead of depending on ourselves or not being honest with ourselves we can go to God for his grace and his strength to present our bodies a living sacrifice?  In our walk it would help us to be aware of these things about ourselves:

*The ceiling of our own understanding.
*The frailty of our own power.
*The lack of our own capabilities.
*The failing of our own strength.
*The emptiness of our own pride.
*The stumbling block of our own sin.
* The hindrance of our own fears.
*The stammering of our own tongue.
*The inconsistency of our resolve.
*The misplacing of our affections.
*The misdirection of our goals.
*The fickleness of our hearts.
*The blindness of our foresight.
*The limits of our endurance.
*The failings of our own strength.
*The paltriness of our influence.
*The distraction of our attention.
*The deceitfulness of our riches.
*The inadequacy of our abilities.
*The poverty of our spirituality.

Yes, we are weak in our flesh, and in our own strength are incapable of bearing fruit for Christ, which is what Christ was telling the disciples in John 15:4-5.  But the good news here is that God has not left us mired in the muck or our own inadequacy, but quite the opposite. When we acknowledge our own weaknesses, inadequacies, fears, and doubts, and go to Him for His strength; we will find grace sufficient for every task, wisdom for every situation, strength for every endeavor, and His equipping for every good work, all supplied through Christ. (Hebrews 4:16, Philippians 4:13, II Corinthians 3:4-6, II Corinthians 12:9-10, I Corinthians 1:24-31, Galatians 2:20, I Corinthians 15:10, II Timothy 1:7)

It is when we judge ourselves rightly that we have the proper perspective regarding ourselves in relation to the life that the Lord has called us to live, and the deeds that He has for us to do. It is then that we have the right view of ourselves, and can go to the Lord and ask for His provision.

There is a saying that gets thrown around a lot in Christian circles, and it is this: "God will not give you more than you can handle."  This is a false statement as God is always giving us more than we can handle, as He wants us to realize and acknowledge that apart from Him we can accomplish nothing of spiritual value, and are spiritually powerless; but that with Him all things are possible.  This is the precursor of coming to the point of maturity that we do not think more highly of ourselves than we ought.

So, my friends, let us think rightly, soundly, truthfully about ourselves, and in doing so make ourselves fit to present ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice to God in all of our endeavors.


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