The moment we commit ourselves to live for Christ is simultaneously the moment we resolve to die to ourselves.
The life of following Jesus is a life of self-denial, a life of sacrifice and service. For the true believer, Jesus takes precedence over everything, all aspects of life. To worship him is to value him more than anyone; to believe in him is to submit our lives to his purpose.
If we truly belong to him, we will exercise enough humility to count others as more important than ourselves. We should owe no one anything – except to love them.
“The last will be first, and the first, last”
Putting ourselves last, we are following Jesus’ model of upside-down kingdom values.
The world says to look out for yourself.
Jesus says to die to yourself.
Remarkably, Jesus lived his call to die. Jesus put himself last, even to the point of death. We praise God that he loved even his enemies and gave himself over to death so they might be saved.
Jesus died so that his enemies would have life.
In his great love, Jesus left his throne to take the form of a slave. He left his glory to be humiliated; he left his high position to die on a hill he created.
There he placed himself beneath his enemies that by his death, they might be saved. Striking as it is, Jesus, in a position of highest authority, placed himself below the most impoverished and needy, and yes, even the guilty.
He made himself a curse so that those who cursed him could be made right.
So then, where should we see ourselves in God’s redemptive story?
Saved by grace, should we not exercise the humility to place ourselves beneath our brothers and sisters?
Should we be eager to serve them?
We should. We should be excited to build them up.
Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, and he commands his disciples to symbolically do the same. We willingly place ourselves at our brothers’ and sisters’ feet and say,
“Let me serve you.”
“Your needs are more important than mine.”
Worship = “Worthship”
For those who follow Jesus, there is no mistake in priority. Jesus is above all.
For us, to live is Christ. He is more exceptional, more valuable, and more desirable than anyone in our lives.
For him we live, and for him we die.
Our joy is made complete when we’re sharing what he has done for us, and our response to his sacrifice is to be a living sacrifice, offering our bodies and plans to God. Thus, the life of a believer is continually pouring forward to others. It is a well of blessing for the world to drink. (Or should be.)
Our worship manifests itself in submission to God’s great design for our lives. In our surrender, we rest; and in our submission, we find peace. As slaves for Christ, we find freedom:
Freedom from sin
Freedom from regret
Freedom from death
Freedom to love others as God has loved us from now until eternity
Jesus, although in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped at. Yet he emptied himself to the form of a servant, even to the point of death- even worse, death on a cross.
We recognize and respond to Jesus’ authority by placing ourselves under Christ, under our brothers and sisters, and putting ourselves last (as he did for us).
How will we worship him?
Our churches provide a gathering on Sundays, and this (one day) is of great importance. But also an immense deal of importance is the small groups that we can be a part of.
These small groups provide ways for us to serve our brothers and sister in Christ. They provide ways to stay connected to them, pray for them, and support them through trying times. They facilitate an authentic community that can fill our hearts and protect us from getting bogged down from the world.
Life is hard. But in a community of Jesus followers, we can connect to each other’s struggles and find healing.
The conclusion to this is we should not only worship God individually, but also corporately, and most importantly, in the context of a dedicated life-giving community.
The place we find rest is precisely the place that God meets us, and where he is, there is peace. God meets us in our restlessness and gives our souls rest. He meets us in our anxiousness and gives our souls peace.
Where God is, there is contentment, satisfaction, and healing even from the world’s greatest evils – and he uses our brothers and sisters in Christ to speak truth and healing into our hearts.
His presence is at those meetings, and he fills us with His Spirit when we gather.