Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Impressing God - Part 2

Just Because We Don't Have To Impress Him, Doesn't Mean We Shouldn't Praise Him!

My last post was talking about how as children of God, we don't need to be concerned with "impressing" Him in order that we might be acceptable in His sight. However. That doesn't exclude our efforts to please Him. That is what I'd like to focus this post on. Now that we know we "can't" impress Him, what can we do to please Him?

A father loves his son as a baby, even when that baby can't do anything for him. But as the child grows, the father expects that his son will excecute certain actions out of maturity and love. While the actions of the child don't "earn" his fathers love, it is something that is required of him. Similarly, our Father loved us when we were worthless, but now having accepted Christ, we have grown to a place of maturity and He expects us to keep his commandments. God doesn't just want us to throw up our hands, say "well, Jesus loves me, so I'm all good! I don't have to do anything." He loves us, knowing that we don't have what it takes to get to heaven on our own. But He expects that we do our best in the strength of Christ - because we love Him.

My pastor spoke on this on Sunday. Here are five sacrifices we can make, to please our heavenly Father:

1. We can offer our entire lives.
Romans 12:1 says, "I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Usually, in the old testiment, an animals was killed first, before offered as a sacrifice. Why? Well . . . try keeping a live bull on the alter while the flames arose. He'd simply jump right off! However, now under the new covenant, we are living sacrifices. Lets not jump off that alter . . . but give all of ourselves to Him who made us.

2. We can offer praise.
Hebrews 13:15: "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that gives thanks to His name."
After creating us (even with the knowledge of sin), killing His son for us, and continuing to have mercy on a fallen and perverse world, don't you think He deserves praise? What an awesome God! If our purpose on this earth is to bring God glory . . . . then this is one of the biggest ways that we ourselves can glorify Him. With thanksgiving!

3. We can offer up doing good and sharing.
Hebrews 13:16: "And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices, God is pleased."
As the body of Christ, we are the physical manifestation of the compassion and love of Christ. This should be shown through our empathy and giving, to others. It is a sacrifice on our part? Yes. Don't jump off that alter. ;)

4. We can offer self-sacrifice.
Philipians 2:17: "But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all."
The Christian walk is sacrificial. At times, it hurts . . . because after all, we're not living for ourselves. Our desires, our comforts, will be stripped away. Will we still be willing to sacrifice even more of ourselves, for Him?

5. We can offer material resources to meet a need.
Philipians 4:18: "I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having recieved from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God."
Remember, the Philipians could barely feed their own families. And yet, they saw the work of the Lord as SO important, that they provided Paul with everything he needed. This selflessness truly pleased God!

Being acceptable to a father, is always something a child yearns for. But we're already accepted, through the blood of Christ:
Galations 2:20 - "it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."

Now that He has accepted sinners, for no reason besides His infinite love, it's time to give back to Him.

~Lauren Lee

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