You too heard the word of truth in Christ, which is the good news of your salvation. You were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit because you believed in Christ. The Holy Spirit is the down payment on our inheritance, which is applied toward our redemption as Godâ€™s own people, resulting in the honor of Godâ€™s glory. Â Â Â Â Ephesians 1:13-14 (CEB)
My husband and I went to visit a friend* yesterday. He happens to be a pastor at a church a few miles away. He is a craftsman of the sermon but what always â€œhooksâ€ me is that the message comes from his heart. And his heart is about people realizing the extraordinary gift from God of salvation in Jesus Christ and growing in that relationship into His disciple.
As I have meditated on my friend’s sermon passage, Ephesians 1:3-15, I read it in three different Bible versions. I wanted to absorb the deep meaning of the message. I have decided there is NO deep meaning. It’s about praise for God. It’s about thanksgiving for His extravagant love for us. He has loved us since before we existed. Henry said it best: â€œCan you take your favorite hymn/praise song and apply some deep theology?â€.
My favorite praise song (right now!) is Indescriable by Chris Tomlin. I can weep and dance like I’m flying (in my mind, any way!) as I ‘see’ all the manifestations of my LORD. It is a love song from my heart and lips to God.
I am still resolving about what God wants me to commit to doing in my daily life in 2012. What are the â€œhabitsâ€ that He wants me to adopt? In his sermon my friend gave these three suggestions:
- Make it a habit to include Jesus in every part of your life.
- Refuse to expect or accept any of the glory that belongs to God.
- Make your relationship with God more important than everything and everybody.
Now these suggestions may seem obvious. But take a few minutes and think about incorporating them into your life.
Do I actively seek Jesus at the beginning of my week? Each day? Am I willing to â€œadjustâ€ to His plan? This can be difficult when I think that I know the plan and the need for our business/ministry. Do I have the faith and trust in God that He does know best?
It can initially seem easy to say that I want God to get all the glory. And yet when I work hard, obediently, for months, even years and do not see any recognition or feel any pat on the back â€“ I can begin to think that â€œHey, God won’t miss that little bit of praise!â€. God gets it all. There is no me sharing with God. He does the sharing of His glory when I meet with Him for eternity, when I am washed â€œwhiter than snowâ€.
Henry and I said to each other before we were married that â€œGod is #1 in my life. Period. And that will never changeâ€. Being 2nd to God in Henry’s life is a pretty great position to be in. Do I also keep God before my children? Do I live my life such that my children know of God’s priority in my life?
2012 is off to a fast start. I want to consciously choose not to leave God behind. I want my life to be an act of worship (Romans 12). It is in praise that my life is encouraged and strengthened because I am focused on all that God has done, is doing, and will do because He loves His children. GLORY, LORD!
*Dr. Robert C. McKibben, senior pastor, Daphne United Methodist Church, Daphne, AL.