For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. 8 If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 Christ died and rose again for this very purpose– to be Lord both of the living and of the dead. 10 So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.'” 12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. (Romans 14:7-13 NLT)
When you think of a church gathering and food, what Bible word do you think of? My guess is that you think of the word fellowship.
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. (Acts 2:42 NLT)
I think Acts 2:42 gives us a pattern that was probably being followed by the church in Rome. I also think that all the activities described in Acts 2:42 would have been considered components of worship. The primary attitude or posture of worship is our relationship with God. It is easy to think of this as a vertical relationship, with God infinitely high above us. If we are acknowledging God, it should be easy to bow down to Him. I don’t think we get into trouble because we begin thinking we are greater than God. Our trouble begins when we remove God from the picture and replace God with self. As soon as I make self my god, I open myself for much evil. My relationship with God is broken, not because God no longer loves me, but because I know longer love and worship God. My relationship with my brothers and sisters is broken because I begin to see myself as their god. I become superior in my own eyes and begin to think that I am the one who should be worshipped and obeyed. The result is an atmosphere of judgment and division within the church body.
On our drive down I5 to Southern California yesterday we listened to a series of messages from Gateway Church in Austin. The whole series was good, but I’d especially recommend watching or listening to this message. The series is entitled “Why is Life so Difficult” and this final message provided some of the ideas in this post.
What is the solution for the relational difficulties we experience in the body of Christ? What would bring us together as followers of Christ within a community? The solution that Paul provides is simple, but very hard. Each of us must live a life of continual worship toward God. When I decide to let God oversee my life and determine to seek His will in all I do I will find I develop a different attitude toward my fellow worshipers. A proper understanding of my vertical relationship with God will adjust my horizontal relationship with my brothers and sisters. I’m not naive. Living this out is very difficult for me and I don’t think I’m unusual. It is still my desire to know, love, and worship God with all I am. As I’m growing in that I pray that my attitude toward others will reflect the love that God has for me.
For my grandchildren:
Worshiping God will help you see others the way God does.