I come from a background where there were a lot of fast and upbeat tempos, so at the end of every service, or right when worship would begin, I would actually leave. I would take Communion and leave and told myself it was okay if I listened to my own worship music and praise music when I got home.
If I was going to be a part of the church, if I was going to come here and listen to the message and be a part of this body, I needed to be a part of this body and actually be in the service. Not just for when Matt preaches or whoever is preaching at that time, but be in a Home Group, participate in worship, and worship with the church. By the end of that transition, I felt myself falling in love with this new way of worship that I’d never even considered.
It’s not about you. It’s not about what you like or what you don’t like. It’s definitely something the Holy Spirit had to remind me of. It’s about God getting the glory, and it really doesn’t matter what avenue he chooses to do that in.
“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else” Isaiah 45:22
This is a promise of promises. It lies at the foundation of our spiritual life. Salvation comes through a look at Him who is “a just God and a Saviour.” How simple is the direction! “Look unto me. How reasonable is the requirement! Surely the creature should look to the Creator. We have looked elsewhere long enough, it is time that we look alone to Him who invites our expectation, and promises to give us His salvation.
Only a look! Will we not look at once? We are to bring nothing in ourselves, but to look outward and upward to our Lord on His throne, whither He has gone up from the cross. A look requires no preparation, no violent effort: it needs neither wit nor wisdom, wealth nor strength. All that we need is in the Lord our God, and if we look to Him for everything, that everything shall be ours, and we shall be saved.
Come, far-off ones, look hither! Ye ends of the earth, turn your eyes this way! As from the furthest regions men may see the sun and enjoy his light, so you who lie in death’s borders at the very gates of hell may by a look receive the light of God, the life of Heaven, the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God, and therefore able to save.
"Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 2 Peter 1:20-21
While I’m sitting in the beautiful St. Croix River Valley area east of the Twin Cities at a scenic Caribou Coffee, across from my stunning wife, with a refreshing sparkling tea, and my Bible open to 1 Peter 5, I am pleasantly reminded of our occupational role in the Kingdom.
I’ve seemed to always wrestle with the balance of resting in Jesus’ finished works and doing work for the Kingdom. Both seem important, but it can be hard to find a decent heart posture in regards to this balance. In reading through 1 Peter 5 today, I stumbled across a verse that, I think, provides a great mindset for believers to have whilst doing Kingdom work.
"Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve…" 1 Peter 5:2
'not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be…’
In this specific scriptural excerpt, the matter at hand is particularly shepherding or overseeing, but I think this same idea can be applied to many, if not all, works.
The difference lies in this: are we willing? Are we ‘eager to serve’ as the latter part of 1 Peter 5:2 states?
If you deal with feelings of obligation, burdened responsibility, or encumbering dutiful action, I encourage you to rest in the fact that Jesus paid it all and we can’t do anything to add to His sacrifice or to our own salvation. We are no longer under a law that demands our effort to be enough. We live under God’s grace and anything good, beautiful, or profitable that will shine through our good deeds is from the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us.
But, there is work to be done ("In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father." Matthew 5:16), and as long as the Bride has an eager and willing heart to do good works, we will see fruit. After all, if this approach is taken, we will enjoy serving God and God’s desire for us to be willing and eager to serve will be fulfilled (‘as God wants you to be…’).
To use “grace” as an excuse to continue in sin means you know nothing of true grace. Grace has saved you FROM SIN and from the old way of Adam’s humanity. Your life has nothing to do with the old nature, but has everything to do with Christ. You are a brand new creature in Christ today! Living as a New Creation in Christ is the most enjoyable thing you can imagine. You are ALIVE TO GOD! hallelujah!
This is not a command “not to sin” but it is a declaration of independence FROM SIN! What profit has all that junk had for you anyway except heart-ache and heart-break? Moments of “fun” that ended in boredom, loss and a false-sense of fulfillment - it is all counterfeit.
Instead, your new way of living (as a grace-junky) produces LOADS of LOVE, JOY AND PEACE. It really is a never ending flow of holy intoxication in union with Christ Jesus! Such a better existence :-)
So what shall we say then? CHANGE YOUR STINKIN’ THINKIN AND START RESTING IN THE TRUTH OF WHO YOU ARE IN JESUS AND WHO JESUS IS IN YOU. SET YOUR MINDS ON THOSE THINGS! CONSIDER SIN AS NON-EXISTENT TO YOU. IT LITERALLY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. AND CONSIDER YOURSELF WIDE AWAKE TO GOD-REALITIES ALL DAY LONG. HE LOVES YOU!!! This is amazing… WOW!
Meditate on these passages below! God bless you today!
"Since YOU WERE brought back to life with Christ, focus on the things that are above—where Christ holds the highest position. 2 Keep your mind on things above, not on worldly things. 3 You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:1-3
"Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence." 2 Corinthians 5:17
"What should we say then? Should we continue to sin so that God’s kindness will increase? 2 That’s unthinkable! As far as sin is concerned, WE HAVE DIED. So how can we still live under sin’s influence?" Romans 6:1-2
"We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them." 1 John 5:18