Over the past several weeks, a fire has been burning inside of me. God has been moving in mighty ways. I have been blessed with the opportunity to attend a youth conference, attend a men’s retreat, find joy in friends coming to know the love of Jesus, share my faith in new circles, encourage others to seek God, and a whole lot more. That’s just a little bit of what has been going on. I am also preparing for this summer in Puerto Rico. God has blessed me with a very intentional, small group to study the Bible with, hold one another up, and spur one another on; and joke around. God is so good. His provision is not short-lived.
I wish I had been writing something every day, but I haven’t.
Anywho, I do want to share with you what has been fueling me these last few weeks. I have been filled with the sense of community that is found in the Body of Christ. I believe that so much can be accomplished as we come together, as we grow together, and as we reach out together.
I believe that the body of believers, described as a cloud of witnesses, are to be moving together as the cause of Christ. Let that sink in. We, the sin-choosing, self-pleasing, people of this world, are the cause of Christ; all people around us are the cause of Christ.
[Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.]
I absolutely love that Romans 12:1 has an interruption mid sentence. This interruption is read over all too often. Paul is urging the Romans to offer themselves up to God. He is pressing them to make use of their lives, of their time, of their resources; their everything. Paul equates the way a person lives to their “true and proper worship.”
This verse, for me, removes the idea of the religious checklist being marked daily to please God. Paul is not just urging the Romans, or us, with the reasoning our parents sometimes used of “because.” Paul says IN VIEW OF GOD’S MERCY! Paul is spilling out his heart, exclaiming why we must live for Christ. Paul points back to what was accomplished at the cross. Paul shouts that death was defeated, once for all. Paul proclaims that, in keeping the love, grace, and mercy shown at the cross at the forefront of our lives, everything we do is our act of worship. In all parts of life, we should live to glorify our Savior. Paul poured this out for the Romans, and the same is true for each of us.
How do we live a life that glorifies our Savior? What is our purpose? I have shared with friends that my ultimate purpose on this earth is to “Know Him. Make Him known.” I think this is the true life purpose and heart’s desire for all that follow Christ. We are here to glorify Him. We point others in His direction when we live as He lived. When we speak His name. When we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the orphan, the widow, the diseased, the lost, the broken, and the struggling. This is our life’s purpose. So much more is accomplished when we move as the Body.
We also glorify God in the way we spur one another on, chasing after His heart together. We should be living a life that urges unbelievers to seek God. We should also be living a life of encouragement to every believer around us. We are a community. We have ties closer than worldly family. We have a blood relationship, the blood of our Savior has bought us and brought us together. It is an understanding of what has been accomplished, what has been defeated, and the love motivation behind all of it that ties us together. We are bound together as the family of Christ.
Some ways we live God-glorifying lives are laid out in 1 Timothy 4:12.
[Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.]
There is power in each of these:
Speech- The words we use, the conversation we take part in or choose not to take part in, the way we engage, encourage, and interact with others matter. Do we glorify our King, our Savior, with the words that flow from our mouths?
Conduct- Our behavior, our character, the way we show respect, kindness, consideration, etc. People see. Believers and unbelievers alike. What has our conduct looked like today?
Love- The way we love our enemies, our families, our friends, and complete strangers. The way we reach out, the way we pour out extravagant love. Does our love for others reflect the love that Jesus has for each of us?
Faith- The confidence we have in our relationship with Christ. Is our faith what we take hold of, what our identity is based on? Our faith is displayed in the way we respond and react to every event that happens in our lives. People see.
Purity- Do we chase after the purity that is displayed in Jesus. Does every aspect of our lives seek holiness, seek cleanliness? Are our desires, motives, and actions pure?
When we choose to make our lives our offering to our Savior, an offering well-deserved by Him, we will truly live in the plan and the purpose God has for us. We will be used by Him, in mighty ways, to draw His people closer to Him and to increase the citizenship of Heaven. We grow in each of the ways listed as we grow our hearts closer to the heart of God.
[Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.]
As we read on in Romans 12:2, we see that we learn to know the will of God as we are renewed in Him, as we are formed more to His likeness. We will not learn the will of God if we are living in conformity with the ways of the world. The path of Christ and path the world encourages do not merge as one, and they do not intersect. Jesus set Himself apart from the world, and we are to do the same.
[Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.]
Let us run the race…together.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…and not change our gaze.
Get to know the Christ followers around you; they are your family. When we consider the cross, we will not grow weary in our lifestyles of worship; we will not lose heart.
Meditate on these verses. They are powerful.
Listen to this song. It is powerful.
Side note: I think the old “WWJD?” bracelet asking “What Would Jesus Do?” would have greater Kingdom impact if written “WJHD.” stating the reason we are saved by grace- “What Jesus Has Done.” If you know a bracelet maker, get us connected.