Tuesday, December 27, 2005

GIVING GOD YOUR BEST

"Worship the LORD in holy attire; Tremble before Him, all the earth." - Ps. 96:9
Some people say it is important to wear your best suit to worship. I agree, unless you are clothed with Christ's righteousness, you cannot come before Him. At Baptism sin is washed away and Christ is put on (Gal. 3:26,27; Col. 2:12). But this is not talking about fine clothes.

Most people like to have the best. But people often settle for less when it comes to spiritual things. The great prophet wrote, "Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy" (Isaiah 55:2)? When people could have spiritual food aplenty, they settle for bread and water that leaves them wanting for more. Jesus asked, "what will a man give in exchange for his soul" (Mt 16:26)? He was concerned for man who will chase and scratch for material wealth while bringing his soul to eternal ruin. If a man wants, he can acquire a "pearl of great price" that is worth everything a man has, but it also cost everything he has. Jesus said this to explain the value of the Kingdom which He reigns over. To belong to anything other than Jesus Christ and His Kingdom is to have settled for less.

God has always given His best. From the creation of heaven and earth to the preparation of an eternal abode in heaven, God's kindness (Rom. 2:4) and giving spirit has been seen. He gave us beauty to behold and an abundance of food and air to make life possible. That He is good is particularly, and especially seen in the giving of His Son. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...." God did for us what we could not do for ourselvs: he offered the atonement that our sins be forgiven by faith (Romans 5:1; 1:5; 10:17; 11:20; 16:26). And related to the giving of His Son, is the "precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust" (2 Pet. 1:4). God is so good to offer eternal life to everyone through Jesus Christ. He gives us fruit-bearing trees when we are hungry. And He gives to us eternal life when we are lost in sin. God answers our prayers and providentially "causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes" (Rom. 8:28). To God who gives His best, we ought to give our best.

What do we bring to God in response to His grace? The prophet Malachi revealed how low Israel had sunk when they resorted to offering to God their scraps and worthless things: God said it was evil (Malachi 1:8). This happens sometimes because something else, some other god, has taken His place. Jesus said, "...From everyone who has been given much, much will be required;..." God will not be satisfied with the person who tries to please two masters; because in such cases, God is always given less than He deserves. Everyone who knows the value of the precious blood that was shed in their behalf, cannot help but be filled with boundless thanks to God and a passion to worship Him only. An attitude of thanks shows in one's worship and service to God. Singing is not just lip-service because it is from the heart. The contribution that is placed in the tray is meaningful because it was the best and not the least that could be given. The Lord's Supper is taken in a pleasing manner because the partaker's heart, soul, mind, and strength are being given to God. It is only in bringing to God our very best that we can be pleasing to Him.

If you want the best, then bring your best to God. He has offered to you eternal life through Jesus, His Son. What He asks for is a faith that is active and obedient to Him.
Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell--and great was its fall. - Mt. 7:21-27
If you believe in Jesus, will you also repent by turning from sin unto righteousness? It is the better path to follow (Psalm 1). And if you have turned from sin and desire His forgiveness, then "repent and be baptized" for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38). God's grace, his matchless gift of eternal life, is being extended to you. Do as the Apostle did, "arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on His name" (Acts 22:16). If you follow Christ, you will have the gift of eternal life.

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