Wednesday, December 09, 2015
Psalms 67:1 – 2 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.
Let’s try a little experiment this morning. Try to honestly answer this question – “Why do you want God to bless you?”
To answer that question, here’s a test. As an average Americanized Christian, if you had written verse one of Psalm 67, how would you have completed verse 2? In other words, complete this sentence –
May God be gracious to me and bless me and make his face shine upon me, so that ____ _________________________________________________________________________
Here are some finishing phrases that came to my mind –
… I can be happy
… I can be wealthy
…I can have more friends
…I can do more things
Most of us probably finished the sentence using “I” as the subject. Using God for our benefit has become commonplace in Christianity. Our faith seems to be only so deep as the provision for our next need. Jesus has become little more than the last piece to our life’s puzzle. He has been conformed to our need of a pain-reliever and provider. We have turned the Son of God into a slave of man. We demand feel-good sermons in church with no demands for involvement or commitment any other time. Given the choice between time spent in the pursuit of God or time spent in the pursuit of personal fulfillment, we choose the pleasures of this world most of the time.
At the risk of sounding cynical, I am concerned with the state of the average Christian in America. The life of the average church-goer today is not built around Christ, it is built around their own desires and Christ is plugged in when there is time or space. When the calendar is planned out for the week, the personal agenda is put in first, then God may get added if there is time. We are guilty of protecting “our time”. Even the Lord’s Day has become primarily our day when we graciously give God 1-2 hours in the morning for church and then assume the rest of the time is ours.
King David gives us the proper conclusion to the sentence we have been finishing selfishly. God’s grace and blessing to us and the glory of His presence in our lives is for one purpose only – THAT HE MAY BE KNOWN ON EARTH AND HIS SALVATION KNOWN AMONG ALL NATIONS.
Being a Christian is not first and foremost about the benefits God brings to us; it is about the glory that it should bring to Jesus Christ. We have been called out from the routine of secular living to be spiritual beings that live the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives. Romans 12:1 says it is our reasonable and spiritual act of worship. Jesus did not give His life on the cross so that we could use Him to live our own lives our way. Jesus gave His life for us so that we could have His life in exchange for ours. He is not an add-on to our life – He is the replacement for our life. We have been given the unspeakable privilege to be crucified to self, and to live the resurrected life of Jesus Christ every day in every way.
People all around us are dying in their sin and headed for a Christ-less eternity. This is not the time for us to continue living according to the materialistic and self-centered pursuits of our culture. It is time to know Christ, and to make Him known to the world. It is time to live by faith in the Son of God. We are here in this time by God’s eternal choice to participate in the fulfillment of His eternal purpose. Let us together do the hard work of re-prioritizing our lives according to God’s glory rather than ours.