Sunday, July 8, 2007

Your everyday, ordinary life

As I've mentioned before, I'm reading various sections of the New Testament in The Message. I finished reading the book of Acts Saturday night, and I was looking through a couple of passages Sunday morning, when I read this passage:

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. (Romans 12:1-3 The Message)
I love this sentence: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. This is truly the desire of my heart, and I believe it is the type of worship that God desires - worship that comes from the everyday, ordinary life that has been transformed by God... "by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him".

Yes, God is concerned about our obedience in the big things, but when we learn to lay before him our "sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life", then we begin to understand what it means to worship him in spirit and in truth. I'm not sure that we can worship God in the big things, if we have not learned to worship in our everyday, ordinary life.

For two of the last three Sundays, I've been teaching on the topic of "trust in the Lord" from the Proverbs. The main text was Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (ESV) As I studied the phrase "trust in the Lord" in Proverbs, I realized that if we truly trust in the Lord - that is, find our security or safety in him - then that trust will demonstrate it through our lives in obedience (Prov 16:20), humility (Prov 28:25), and complete submission to him (Prov 29:25).

Again, this trust is demonstrated in big ways in our lives - our families, our jobs, moving to a new location, etc. - but it is primarily demonstrated in the small, everyday, ordinary decisions that we make - the way we speak to a friend, the way we spend a small amount of money, the way we get upset when our favorite television show is pre-empted.

Trust God in the small things, and the big things will fall into place. Worship God in the small things, and the big things will fall into place. Forget about God in the small things, and the big things will be for ourselves and not for God.

I'm learning - I hope others are learning - that God is interested in my everyday, ordinary life. Can others see God demonstrated in your everyday, ordinary life?

7 comments:

Mary said...

I've got to get myself a copy of The Message.

You said: "I'm not sure that we can worship God in the big things, if we have not learned to worship in our everyday, ordinary life."

That's a good one. Also, if we're not changed in our everyday, ordinary lives, are we really changed in the big things?

Brandon said...

Great post Alan!
This is something that I'm seeing change in my life. It's definitely a process, but I'm seeing God in the "small" things of life now. Everyday ordinary things. It's not always a profound life altering lesson as much as an ever present....presence.

I still forget and mess up, but I'm much quicker to repent, get up and keep walking with Him. I used to go to church to seek God's presence. That sounds silly to me today.

Thanks again for this post.

BTW- I have an Parallel Bible with the NABS and The Message and I love it!

Brandon

Lew A said...

Mary

You were absolutely right when you said, "if we're not changed in our everyday, ordinary lives, are we really changed in the big things?"

Brandon touched on it a little - I wonder how these ideas apply to the "go to church" mentality that we all tend to carry.

Thanks for the comments guys!
Lew

P.S. Brandon - I wish my bible had crackers in them! *rimshot* (sorry couldn't resist)

Steve Sensenig said...

Lew, every time your church serves communion, just sneak an extra piece of cracker and slip it in your Bible. Before long, you'll have crackers in your Bible, too ;) hehe

Alan Knox said...

Yes, the "go to church" mentality - "God's house" - could lead to us forgetting about God in the everyday, ordinary. If God is at his house, then maybe he doesn't care about my house...

-Alan

Brandon said...

Lew,
I would have been disappointed if you had let the opportunity pass! ;-)

It looks like I've discovered a new translation of scripture. (NABS)
Brandon

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