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Our reasonable response
- Jacob Ninan
When we stand before God and recognise who He is and what He has done for us, our natural response is to worship Him (Ro.12:1). But is it not possible for us, in these days of abundance of praise and worship songs, to imagine that worship is to sing those songs or to join such times in the church? This verse points out that true worship involves giving ourselves to God as living sacrifices to do His will all the time. This same concept is brought out in 2Co.5:14,15 where it says that if we really believe that Jesus gave His life for us, our attitude and behaviour should be such that we live our lives for Him instead of for ourselves. The whole of our Christian life is summarised here - living for Him!
When we make major decisions in our life, what is the primary consideration that drives us? Is it how it will affect us - just like everybody in the world thinks - or what Jesus would have us to do, and how it would glorify Him? When we have extra money in our hands, what is the thought that guides us to decide on what to do with it? Is it to spend it for something that we have been dreaming about or saving for our future needs, or asking what the Lord would have us to do? When we recognise that God has given us some talents and skills do we plan on making ourselves richer or more famous with them, or how we can use them in God's kingdom? When we get some free time do we think of enjoying ourselves or about what we can do to get to know God better or do good to someone else in God's name?
The issue is not about whether it is wrong to think of how things would affect us, buy something useful for us, earn money or enjoy ourselves. These are all legitimate things. But the question is what drives us - compels or constrains us. What is our primary concern?
Jesus taught us to ask for our daily bread - representing everything we need for our earthly life (Mt.6:11). It is legitimate (and necessary) for us to think and plan about such things. But Jesus taught us about the priorities that we should have in our life, above and beyond these daily needs. We are to think, first of all, about God's honour and glory, His kingdom and His will (v.9,10).
Have we allowed our salvation to go deep enough into our lives so as to bring us to this attitude? Can the fruit of such an attitude be seen in our behaviour? Others watching us should be able to see that we do not belong here altogether even though we are here right now. That is the witness - ourselves as the living gospel - that we can give to others.
Do we not need to press on towards perfection both in this attitude and its practical working out? We face opposition from our comfort and pleasure loving selves, the world system that preaches at us that we need to look out for ourselves and that we deserve a better deal for ourselves, and from Satan trying to deceive, divert our attention and keep us busy. But to love Jesus is to live for Him.