In our verses in 2 Samuel this week David provides us an example of extreme worship. Whereas we may not be a charismatic as David, we learned that the attitude in which we worship God is an important issue. Our response for what God has done in our lives should be joyful and unlimited by selfish concerns. When people look at us they have to be able to see God and our love for Him. If we limit or contain our heartfelt expressions of His love then we are limiting God’s effectiveness in our lives and in the lives of others around us.
In the opening verses in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we learn that God has chosen us, that He has personally selected each of us to be “holy and blameless before Him in love.” This holiness occurs because we were predestined to be adopted as His children through our belief in Jesus Christ. All blessings from God flow to us through the redemption of our sins and forgiveness of our trespasses because of His sacrifice “so that we might live for the praise of His glory.”
In Psalm 24 David celebrates that everything belongs to God. The entire universe is His creation and we should be amazed by it. As we reach out and seek God in every aspect of our lives, as we recognize that we have been cleaned and purified in our belief in Jesus Christ, we become richly blessed by God’s love. These blessings cause us to lift up our heads, open our hearts, and rejoice in constant praise and thanksgiving.
In the Gospel of Mark we read about Herod’s life and his response to John’s stance against his sinful ways. We realized in this reading that Herod represents or models our tendencies to avoid dealing with our sins and transgressions. As we looked at Herod’s life we grew to clearly understand how easy it becomes to be like him in so many ways. To avoid being a “Herod” we recognize that we have to open our hearts to Christ and allow Him into every aspect of our lives. We also must learn to rely on the Holy Spirit to convict us and lead us towards a life that is wholly dependent on God and His plan.
Points to Contemplate:
In what ways are you limiting God in your life? Do your tendencies to control and manage your life create limitations on God? Is your heart open and your response to His love sincere? Can others see His love reflected through you? Is your devotion, praise and worship for Him the only thing that matters? Or do you spend too much time worrying about what others might think? Do you watch other people in their worship of God and stand in judgment of how they react to His love for them?
Are you “holy and blameless” before God? Do you “live for the praise of His glory?” If these traits represent God’s purpose for your life, if He has chosen you because He knows you are capable of becoming Christ-like in everything you do, what is holding you back? What keeps you from becoming the disciple He is calling you to be? Are you limiting God? Keeping Him out of certain areas of your life so that you maintain some control or fulfill some selfish need? What will it take to cause you to let go and live the way He wants you to live?
Are you a Herod? Do you allow your weaknesses to dominate your life? Or do you allow God to grow you stronger through your weaknesses? Are you willing to listen to the Holy Spirit when He convicts you of certain sins or transgressions? Are you willing to change according to His will and guidance? Are you willing to allow the “self” to die in order to make room for God in your life? Do you sit enthroned in your kingdom constantly looking for ways to fulfill your needs? If you think not, take some time to listen to your prayers. How many times do you ask God for something? How many times do you say the words “I” or “me”? Are you still sure that the “self” is not enthroned in your kingdom instead of God?
Our lessons this week celebrate God’s creation and the plans He has for our lives. Do you acknowledge that God has created all things, including you? Do you find hope and encouragement in the understanding that He has purpose and intent for your life? Do you earnestly seek God in all aspects of your life, searching for ways to fulfill your destiny as a child of God? Do you base your identity and purpose in your relationship with Jesus Christ? Do you stand up in defense and bear witness to God’s truth in the world?
Prayer of the Week:
Creator of Heaven and Earth: We come to you in awe of your amazing creation. We recognize that all things, including ourselves, are products of your amazing creativity, power and glory. We lift up our hearts in praise and thanksgiving for your glory. We want everything in our lives to reflect your awesome love. We are willing to give ourselves over to your plan and purpose. Use us Lord for building your kingdom in our lives and in the world around us. Convict us of our sins and lead us into the paths of righteousness for your namesake. Help us set aside our selfish desires “so that we might live for the praise of your glory.” We pray all of this through the Redeemer of our sins, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.