While raising children, I often think about my own childhood and how my reactions to God, Jesus, church, etc. were different than they are now. I certainly have a renewed vision of my own in regards to Christianity and I often wonder how my kids view these kinds of experiences.
I can distinctly remember singing songs in church as a young teenager and even in my own college days. Songs that praised God were very easy to sing. God is certainly worthy of praise. Perhaps it comes so easily because of all he’s done for us. This universe and world he has created is mind-blowing. When I think about all the other galaxies and solar systems it is impossible for me to envision the fullness of God. Praising Him because of his power comes naturally.
Then I think about the life that he has created for us on this earth. From relationships with other people to enjoying nature, God can easily be praised for this life. Not only did he create me with different gifts and abilities, but he has also surrounded me with other people with different gifts and abilities. I thank God all the time for my wife, kids, and family. He is worthy to be praised because of the people and places he has put in my life.
Lastly, I actually still get giddy when I think of God giving all he has for my salvation. He came to this earth as a man (flesh and bone) and lived a perfect life. He loved others perfectly in such a way that crowds flocked to him. Some because of his miracles and others because of the hope he offered them. He didn’t just teach people how to live, he walked the walk. What amazes me even more is his desire to give his own life away.
I recently watched a video where a group of women shaved their heads to support their friend who was going through chemotherapy treatments for cancer. It was a very touching video and made me realize what good friends do; they sacrifice their own comfort for the comfort of others. This next train of thought is not to downplay what these friends did, but to magnify what Jesus did for us. The sacrifice that was made by this group of women was temporary. Their hair will grow back and their lives will move on. Would a friend be so willing to remove a part of their body for a friend? Would you give up an arm or an eye for a friend; something that doesn’t grow back? The ultimate sacrifice would be to give up your own life. It is for this reason that God can be praised. Because he came to this earth and sacrificed himself for our benefit.
Greater love hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8
For all these things God can be praised … and should be praised. He has certainly proved himself worthy of it. By displaying his amazing power in creating the universe, by showing great care in creating people and our surroundings for us to enjoy and, ultimately, by proving his love for us by coming to earth for us and dying for us. By all this, we should have no trouble bending the knee, lifting our hands, and singing to him songs of praise and thanks.
But what happens when we sing songs or read verses that actually require something of us? I know personally that it made me uncomfortable. I didn’t like singing those kinds of songs because I didn’t really want to say those kinds of words; “Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to thee”, “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to the Lord”
These were not joyful words for me to speak. The other problem I had was that I knew I should. It wasn’t a question of the right thing to do. It was my own selfish behavior that made, not only saying the words, but actually believing them so hard. I liked my life just the way it was. I enjoyed being in control. I liked that church and God was something that I could pull out when I needed to impress other people and then put it away when it was inconvenient.
There was one song that has made a lasting impression on my life. I loved the tune because it was so simple and easy to sing. The words were convicting but not angry. After my life made a significant change to actually give everything to God, and hold nothing back, I began to love this song and all it spoke to my soul.
If you took the time to listen to this song and have felt the same things I have been saying then I have some questions I want you to consider.
- Why do you hold things back?
- If God is worthy to be praised, why would you not give him everything?
- What is the one thing God is impressing on you right now to give up?
This last question is an important one. It was, for me, the faith step I needed to cross over into a life that is completely surrendered to God. When I took something small and simple and actually gave it up to God and asked Him to take it from me, he opened a door that I never knew existed. It was the door of blamelessness.
We read about Biblical characters that were blameless in God’s sight. They still messed up and were selfish at times, but they never kept that from God. He knew all about them because they humbled themselves in such a way that he was free to forgive them and move the relationship forward.
Do you desire to walk blameless before God? Do you feel guilty when you think about God and the ways that you have broken his laws and how he asks us to live with him and with other people? I can assure you that guilt you feel is not coming from him. He waits anxiously like the prodigal son’s father at the top of the road, and actively searches for you to walk up the driveway so he can run to you. But it’s up to you first.
Take that first step and trust that God will forgive you and leave behind the behaviors that you know you should. Begin each day knowing for a fact that you are loved by a God who forgives and welcomes you into his arms. Trust that God knows how to walk with you everyday and show you a better life. It will not be sunshine and roses all the time. In fact, we are promised trouble in this world. But we will be in eternity much longer and the short and fleeting troubles that this world offers is nothing compared to what’s in store for us.
And hold nothing back.