Jan. 19th Devotion

Fully Grasping the Gift
Forward with Back to the Bible

Read Ephesians 2:1-5 (ESV)
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved…

How does fully grasping the gift that you have been given through Jesus Christ impact the way that you worship?

Yesterday, we talked about how our motivation for worship matters. We have to put our whole heart into our worship. We have been commanded to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:5). But if we are honest, many of us struggle with this from time to time. How do we overcome this struggle? Can we learn to pour our whole hearts into praising and glorifying our God? Why is this such a struggle for us so often? I believe that we often struggle with passionately worshiping the Lord because we have either forgotten or failed to grasp the full significance of what He has done for us through Jesus.

Imagine that you are on the set of a game show and you get called down to compete for a new car. You win! How would you respond? Would you jump for joy? Would you scream and shout? Would you do your “happy dance”? Probably. And no one would fault you for it. That is exciting!

Or imagine that you received news that you have a brain tumor that will kill you if the doctors are unable to remove it. You go into surgery unsure of the outcome but when you come out you are told that the surgeons were successful. They got all of it! Wouldn’t you weep with joy and relief? Wouldn’t you feel as though you just got your life back? Again, no one would fault you for weeping. In fact, many would probably weep in joy and thanksgiving with you. What an incredible gift! The gift of life!

But if you sing and dance for the glory of God like you might if you just won a new car, you would probably get some major side-eye in most churches. If you broke down in tears and wept through worship, everyone would wonder what in the world had happened. They’d probably
assume that you were going through a really rough time.

But if we all truly grasped what God has given us through Jesus, our perception of worship and our participation in worship would change. In today’s verses, the apostle Paul’s words reorient our hearts and minds to fully grasp our situation before and after Christ.

Before Christ, we were held captive to sin. We followed the world, the prince of this world (Satan), and our own selfish and carnal desires. Consequently, our punishment was death. We were dead in our sins and we deserved the wrath of God. Take a moment to think about that and really grasp what your destiny was before Jesus intervened. You were spiritually dead and you deserved eternal torment. If you really let that bad news sink in, the good news that’s coming next will sink in even deeper.

“But God…”! What an amazing way to start a sentence! “But God…” what? But God was “rich in mercy” and He loved us with a “great love”! Even though we’d transgressed Him, even though we deserved every bit of the punishment we had coming to us, even though we were dead in our sins, He made us alive! Not just temporarily alive but eternally! Sometimes I think we’ve heard John 3:16 so many times we forget why it is one of the most popular Bible verses ever. Read it this time and really take in what it says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” You don’t even have to do anything to earn this gift. It is a gift of pure grace. We can never deserve it. We just have to believe it’s true and receive it from our merciful, gracious, and loving God.

Friends, I am not saying that you have to dance in the aisles or weep uncontrollably at the next worship service. After all, it’s not about our external actions but our internal attitude when we worship. But if you find that you are having trouble getting your heart into your worship, think about this. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), and “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). You have been eternally saved! It is infinitely better than winning a new car and even more of a rescue than being declared cancer-free. In Christ, our lives aren’t temporarily saved. They are eternally saved. Have you fully grasped that?
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