Yes, Mrs. R, my thoughts exactly. I found this devotional in my mailbox today and it sums this subject up nicely. I copied it and thought I'd put it on here; It's the Purpose Driven Life devotional, it's quite long but worth the read. Enjoy!
Playing Second Fiddle
by Jon Walker
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1 NIV)
Next time you bite into a hamburger, I want you to think about how your trip to the fast-food-burger-barn can become a “spiritual act of worship.”
The Apostle Paul calls us to be living sacrifices, alive in Christ – moment-by-moment being conformed by the Holy Spirit into the image of Christ. Our spiritual act of worship includes gratefully acknowledging that our heavenly Father is still on the throne of grace and that he has the right to guide us, lead us, and prompt us about any particular thing we do or any specific decision we make throughout the day, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
Eugene Peterson, in The Message, paraphrases Paul’s words this way: “So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering ….” (Romans 12:1a MSG)
In other words, your whole life becomes an act of constant worship when you live, work, and breathe as unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:23)
Paul’s language in Romans 12 refers to the work required by priests to prepare the temple for worship; he’s suggesting that the mundane tasks of the temple are acts of worship equal to the seemingly more spiritual moments of community worship. Time warp into the present and think of it like this: God can be worshiped as well when you vacuum the carpet in the worship center as when you stand in the same place during a worship service.
Paul continues in his letter to outline specific and practical behaviors that can be offered to God as acts of worship as we, living sacrifices, move from self-centeredness to other-centeredness. By giving up our own choices and preferences in deference to others, we please and worship God.
Now, you may be thinking, What does this have to do with ordering a burger and fries at the fast-food-burger-barn?
Let’s step into that answer with a confession about myself: You could say I’m in recovery for impatience, a sin I took my sweet time to confess before God. (Meaning God showed patience at my impatience!) When you get honest about it, impatience is a form of pride. It says: “I require immediate attention (because I’m too childish to wait).” “My time is more important than the time of others.” “I know better than anyone else what must be done.” “My need is urgent; everyone else, get in the slow line.”
Yet Paul says that when we sacrifice our own choices and preferences in deference to others – when we honor others over ourselves – we please and worship God. (Romans 12:1, 10) Eugene Peterson suggests Paul is saying, “Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.”(Romans 12:10 MSG)
As I read this passage, I felt the Holy Spirit’s nudging – you know how that goes – “Hey, this passage is about you and your impatience; now what are you going to do about it?” My immediate answer was ... to head off to the fast-food-burger-barn for some “comfort food.”
It was lunch time, and as I was walking into the burger barn, I started jockeying for position, trying to get through the door before any slow looking people got in front of me. As I grabbed for the door, the words “Practice playing second fiddle” lit up my French fry-deprived mind like neon sign energized by the Holy Spirit. And in that moment, God spoke into my thoughts: “What does it matter in eternity if I get my Big Burger Deluxe 35 seconds later than someone else?” I stopped and opened the door so the people behind me could go through in front of me.
Here’s my point: Allowing others to go before me when I was in such a rush went against my natural inclinations, but God was telling me to sacrifice my natural tendencies, to lay them on the altar before him so the Holy Spirit could energize my actions. As Ian Thomas teaches, God replaces our instincts with the Holy Spirit.
By practicing at playing second fiddle, this mundane moment became an act of worship: “God, I have failed so often to honor others over myself, but I want to start now. I acknowledge you are my God, and I am submitted to you. You are a great and gracious God, and you will take care of me, so it does not matter when I get to the front of the line, or if I even miss this one meal.”
This thought of worshiping God in all we do, think, and say is a difficult truth to handle, and I am way at the back of the line in understanding it and living it out. In fact, it seems quite impossible.
I can’t, but God can.
· Honor God in all you do – “So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering ….” (Romans 12:1a MSG)
· Go with faith, not fear – As God guides you to places in your life where you’re still not living in sacrifice (that is, being a living sacrifice), ask him to show you what specific fear is keeping you from the faith of your living your everyday, ordinary life before God as an offering.
· I can’t or I won’t – When God confronts you with a natural instinct – a portion of your life where you tend to be self-centered instead of other-centered – ask him to show you the difference between “I can’t change ….” and “I won’t change ….”
· Pick one behavior – Read through Romans 12:6-17 and pick one behavior that you need to offer before God as part of your living sacrifice. Chose an area where you are weak but willing to submit to God’s great and gracious strength.
© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved