There is a shift that has to happen, a change, or we will all continue destroying and hurting each other. It is a shift to being willing to sacrifice, to give up our own selfish, prideful, and sinful lives to know and demonstrate love. It is a shift to be willing to put the needs of others ahead of our own wants – a shift to be willing to help others even if there is nothing in it for ourselves. This is the picture of a community. This is a picture of unity. This is a picture of love.
Remember, O Lord , in David’s favor,
all the hardships he endured,
how he swore to the Lord
and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
“I will not enter my house
or get into my bed,
I will not give sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
until I find a place for the Lord ,
a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
For the Lord has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his dwelling place:
“This is my resting place forever;
here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
I will abundantly bless her provisions;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
Her priests I will clothe with salvation,
and her saints will shout for joy.
Psalms 132:1-5, 13-16 ESV
It is said that “David was a man after God’s own heart”, and what does this mean but that David wanted to be a blessing to the Lord. David wanted to build a place for the Lord to dwell, but David was thinking that He would build it with the hands of men, when the truth is that the Lord builds it in our hearts.
“I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
Jeremiah 17:10 ESV
What greater blessing could there be than for the Lord to come and live in our lives, to abide with us, to teach us and to guide us, to test us and mold us to be more like himself?
But many are not interested in giving up their lives, they are only interested in what they can taste,touch, see, and pleasure themselves with today and now. They have little interest in loving the Lord or living others, because their first love is themselves and their bellies. And if they don’t let go of the worthlessness of this world, their hands will never be open to receive His blessings.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 ESV
Do you want you life to be the dwelling place for the Holy Spirit of the Lord? Do you want to be delivered from your life of sin and bowing to the demands of your flesh? Do you want to give up your life and serve the Lord, sharing in the trials and tribulations and sufferings and persecution that are part of following Him in reckless abandon?
Or would you rather live your life your own way?
Or would you rather find a “church” with a “hireling” that doesn’t ask very much of its “supporters”?
Would you be most satisfied with a “religion” that keeps God at a comfortable distance from really having any impact on “your way of life”?
Yes, many have chosen religion over the gospel – ritual and tradition over relationship – the practiced sacrifice of religion over the living sacrifice of love.
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. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
Romans 12:1-2, 9-16 ESV
These things in Romans 12 reflect the blessings that the Lord says He will pour out on His chosen vessels in Psalm 132 above. He blessed us so that we can be a blessing to others, so that His name can receive the glory and honor and praise.
Do you want to surrender your life to the Lord so that you can deny yourself and suffer so that others might know His love?
Ate you ready to put the needs of others ahead of your wants?
Do you desire to love and serve the Lord today?