I’m back! I was on a spiritual transformation retreat the past few days, focusing on the topic of spiritual discernment. It was a great time and I learned so much, but need to process it some more before I share any reflections on the subject.
Last week, I wrote about “prepositions.” These are those small words that we often overlook in our Bible reading. Yet, they are very significant and powerful words, especially when attached to God/Christ. We started with “from God” or “by Christ”; looking at how it all begins with Him. Then we looked at “to Christ” – the appropriate response and direction because of His greatness and love. This led us to the intimate invitation we are given to be “in Christ.” And finally, we are called to live life in companionship “with” Christ and “through” the power of the Spirit.
And all this leads us to the last preposition: “for.”
Many of you are in some sort of ministry. The reason you are in ministry is because you want to do things “for God.” After all, God through Christ, has done so much for us. He not only created us, but He redeemed us, He gave His life for us, He gives us new life through His Spirit, and we receive blessing upon blessing for all the many other things He does “for” us. So it is the natural and appropriate desire to do things “for God.”
Just a couple of thoughts about doing things “for God.”
1. We do things for God as a response of thanksgiving, not as a way to “earn” God’s favor. If we are doing things for God in order to get more blessing from God, we’re missing the mark. That is a subtle form of manipulation; something that pagan religions espouse in order to pull the odds “ever in our favor.” But we believe God has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Our doing “for” Him is simply a thankful response.
2. Doing things for God is out of the overflow from experiencing life with God. So before we start doing “for” God, we need to understand and embrace the “from,” “by,” “to,” “in,” “with,” and “through” God/Christ. When we exercise the other prepositions first, it makes our doing “for” God so much more powerful and meaningful.
The prepositions give us a more complete expression of worship to God. It’s not just about singing songs or going to a church service. It’s about becoming more aware of that which is “from” Him, running “to” His arms, abiding “in” His life, walking “with” Him in our life experiences, living “through” His power and grace, and serving “for” His purposes. That’s what Whole Life Worship is about.
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen. Therefore, I urge you, my brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 11:36-12:1)