Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What Style is Your Life? – An Epilogue

There is a famous story about Abraham Lincoln and an old lady that visited his office one day. Regardless of a heavy schedule of appointments, when this elderly woman with no official business in mind asked to see him, he graciously consented. As she entered Lincoln's office, he rose to greet her and asked how he might be of service. She replied that she had not come to ask a favor. She had heard that the President liked a certain kind of cookie, so she had baked some for him and brought them to his office. With tears in his eyes, Lincoln responded, "You are the very first person who has ever come into my office asking not, expecting not, but rather bringing me a gift. I thank you from the bottom of my heart." What a picture of how we should treat the Heavenly President of our lives? Shouldn’t we also bake cookies for God?

In the last three posts we explored that the "The God We Ignore" is the Holy Spirit, that the "The Self We Ignore" is our true self (our spirit), and the “Life We Ignore” is the one in which our spirit communes with His Spirit in continual pursuit of the highest standards of living. It is reasonable for us to ponder what others might observe from a Christian who lives such a life. What "style" of living would others recognize while watching a spirit-led Christian? The answer is that a spirit-led life will be evidenced in an observable lifestyle referred to as worship.

The primary words used in the Bible for worship (for example, shachah in the Hebrew and proskyneo in the Greek) mean to fully bow down with face to the ground in homage and reverence. In modern English, the word worship is derived from the word “worth” – i.e. worthiness or worth-ship. In its simplest meaning worship means to ascribe worth to something. When we bow our body and spirit towards God, we are ascribing all worth to Him. We hold back no part of ourselves and no compartments of our lives from complete reverence in His honor. While bowing is certainly a physical activity, it can also be quite figurative. To that end Romans 12:1 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

The presentation of our bodies to God as our spiritual worship is not something that just happens on Sundays. Worship is a non-stop lifestyle, not just a weekly activity. That is why in Galatians 2:20, we are referred to as being “crucified with Christ,” meaning that we “no longer live” but “Christ lives in [us.]” And Christ lives in us on Wednesday just as much as on Sunday. Our lives every day are meant to be lived in such a way that continually ascribes worth to God. In fact, it is probably the worst form of hypocrisy to worship God with raised hands on Sunday morning only to deny Him with those same hands the other six days of the week. The purpose of the church is to increase the worship of God every day. John Piper famously said, “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't.” If we live the Spirit-led life we were meant for, we will bring our flesh under subjection to our spirit by making it worship its Creator constantly. And, we will live a life of mission – a mission to convert more worshipers. We will teach others to worship with their lives as they observe ours.

The truth is that we all worship something. We all bring our bodies under complete subjection for various things. For some of us it is a football team; a performer; a great speaker; a lover. In fact, the wildest worshipers are not in charismatic churches, they are in rock concerts, football games and the like. These wild worshipers put the most charismatic church goers to shame. But such complete physical and spiritual subjection was meant to be directed at the only object worthy of it – God. Is there anything else that is truly worthy?

1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” We can worship God through every activity that we do here on Earth. In fact, with every activity that we do here on Earth, we are either worshiping God or worshiping something else in ignorance of God. We can worship God with our work, our play, our marriage, our eating, our drinking, our dancing, our sleeping, and even in how we bake cookies. In contrast, we can also ignore God in every one of those activities. Is there any aspect of your life that is not being directed towards God’s glory? Towards whose glory are such activities directed? Are their idols in your life that are competing for the honor that only God is worthy of? Every day is a good day for tearing down idols and bowing before our Maker.

Whatever you do immediately after reading this, do it for God’s glory.

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