“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.” Romans 12:1 Have you ever stopped to consider why God doesn’t feel close, or why (it seems) so many are leaving the churches they grew up in? Many cite “I don’t feel God in that place,” or “the people were a bunch of hypocrites,” or (and one of the worst) “Man-made religion can’t connect me to God. I’ll meet Him on my own terms.” Sometimes people return to the love they had at first, but all too often those who leave the church do so for a god of their own invention (yes, even atheism is a religion, putting the individual at the center of the universe). What we lack is godly submission. Many within churches lack this godly attitude. We want to make church about ourselves, hence the excuses one uses when shopping around for a church. Christ-like submission is the height of Spiritual worship. Consider it. Jesus was born as a man, not in to a barn or family of wealth, but to a mother who accepted the task of carrying Him before her wedding night, and a step-father who came from a line of Kings, but was eking out a living as a carpenter under the heavy taxation and climate of Roman occupation. It wasn’t a time of Spiritual enlightenment or awakening, either: the worship of God had been taken over by political parties (the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots, etc.) who, though religious, sought their own agenda rather than pleasing God. He sought to, as the Author of the Word of God, provide clarity and reconciliation to the Father, but was, by and large, rejected for it. And in the end, though He knew no sin, being obedient to the Father in every way and as was His mandate, He was nailed to a tree under false accusations, numbered among outlaws, dying as the perfect, spotless Lamb of God. He nailed our sin to that tree along with His body. He rose again, removing the stain and sting of death from us, that we may know Life, both now and in the time to come. And He calls us to do the same.
Some of us may be called to give our lives for the cause of Christ, but all of us are called, daily, to die to ourselves to serve Christ and others. We are called to give our time, treasures, and talents, so that we may live out the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding. Let us live a life in submission to Christ and One Another, that His love may be seen and known throughout the whole world. Philippians 2:1-18 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.