Glorify God with Our Time
- Jake Chambers
- Dec 13, 2009
- Series: A Community of Unceasing Worship
A Community of Unceasing Worship: Glorify God with Our Time
December 13, 2009
We are taking a month to examine worship. This week we will look at worship from the angle of how it affects our time. We will work to answer questions such as: How much of our time is God asking for? Does God want us to worship him with our time? Is God satisfied with segments of our time, a day, or does he want it all? How do we worship God with our time? Do we even worship with our time? We will examine scripture together to try to answer these questions and ask the Lord to examine our hearts to reveal what we worship in regard to our time.
Romans 11:31: All things are from Jesus, made through Jesus and are to be used to glorify him. Jesus Christ is to be glorified forever. What we place in the position of glory is what we worship. Jesus Christ is the one who alone is worthy of this position of worship.
It is with this in view that we see the motivation behind the first two verses of Romans 12. We are not to conform to the word with how we use our time and our thoughts but are instead to be a living sacrifice to God. There is a bond in these three verses that I believe reveals a lot about the call to worship Christ with all of our time and thoughts. I also believe that truth in these verses can launch us into a life of worship. But I want to first examine other scripture to see if we can answer some of our questions on worshipping the Lord with all of our time.
The call to worship God unceasingly with our time: Joshua 1:8: “Meditate on [God’s word] day and night.” We see here a call for us to spend time thinking about God’s word, to hear from God by meditating on his word both day and night. This scripture illuminates Romans 12:2 for us as we start to see a thought life renewed by God’s word. Our decisions and the discernment of God’s will are greatly strengthened by a mind that meditates on God’s word. Practically, this does not mean you have to become a monk and read your Bible 24/7 but it is a call to memorize scripture and meditate on it. It is a call to read scripture daily and ask the Lord to keep what he reveals to you that day in your mind throughout the day. It is an encouragement to worship the Lord by spending a great amount of time thinking of his words.
Colossians 4:2: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Our time is spent not just hearing from God but also praying steadfastly to him. We are to respond to God by speaking to him. Are you steadfast in prayer? Does your time, day by day, reflect steadfastness in prayer? We are to keep watch in this.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 takes it a step further and gives us the call to rejoice always and pray without ceasing. This is the ceaseless worship of Christ we see in these verses. Here we see that all of our time is to be spent rejoicing in the Lord, praying to the Lord and thanking the Lord. This is not only a call but is the will of God. His people are to live a life where Jesus Christ is the center of our affections. Now this could be confusing. We can wonder how this is physically possible and again feel the temptation to go off and be a monk. But I think Colossians 3:23-24 sheds more light on this. Here we see that everything we do should be done unto the Lord. That the call is not to pray without ceasing and rejoice in the Lord in a way that isolates you and keeps you from your job, family or friends. The call is that all of your time is spent in worship and thankfulness to Christ because all that you do is now done to the glory of God. All that you do is for him. Romans 11:36 says “to him are all things”. So the call is not to lock yourself in a closet and pray and read your Bible unceasingly with no break for lunch or work; the call is that all that you do is to reflect your worship of Christ. This changes your attitude when doing hobbies, working, going to school, or dating your wife. Now everything you do has the purpose of glorifying God and you can rejoice in the gifts God has given you. Everything is from Jesus so everything should be to Jesus.
So the call is clearly for unceasing worship of Christ, but we don’t do that do we? So what do we worship?
What do we sacrifice time for? One thing I constantly hear people saying and find myself saying is, “I don’t have the time.” “I would love to serve but I don’t have the time.” “Oh missional community sounds great but I just don’t have the time.” “I would love to get in the word, pray more, spend time with my kids, date my wife etc. but alas I do not have the time.” What do you have time for and what are you sacrificing in order to keep that time? What you make time for and sacrifice other time for will reveal what you worship with your time.
Maybe your god is your job. You have to work constant overtime. You have to work this weekend. You have to take home your work. Some of you always have to go back to school. Your god is school. You sacrifice time with family, supporting your family, and time with community because the last job you had that your education prepared you for did not fulfill you, so you are going back to school to try one that will. You go in debt, are a slave to homework, and spend all your time thinking about school, preparing for school or going to school. Some might even worship their family. “Can’t serve, got to spend time with the family.” “Sorry can’t give, have to provide for family.” “No time for MC, need to spend time with family.” These are almost foolproof excuses acceptable by both the world and the church. Work, school and family are all great things. They can all be used to glorify God and we should be worshipping God in our work, in our school and in our family. But all of them make horrible gods. Work is an unsatisfying and crappy god. It is not worth sacrificing all your time for and making all your decisions around. School is a crappy god. It promises a future god of a perfect job and never delivers. Family is a bad god. It is full of sinners just like you who always disappoint and the most selfish thing you can do for your family is treat them like god instead of call them to worship God.
Some of you are feeling great right now because you are single, without a job, living with your parents, flunking out of school, and are so stoked that you do not devote your time to these gods. Sports, porn, facebook, TV and video games are all bad gods too. Do you have hours for internet, video games and TV but no time for MC, prayer or to look for a job? Do you sacrifice time with God to watch football? Are you already wondering how many sermons you are going to have to hear online because bowl season and NFL playoffs are here?
Maybe sleep is your god. Do you sacrifice everything in order to get more sleep? Hit the snooze button because you need more time to sleep instead of starting the day with prayer? Examine your time.
At this point we can all see how our time reveals what we worship and maybe you are wondering what needs to be done to be able to worship unceasingly. It would be easy to react by taking action in your schedule. Scheduling out prayer times and making MC a priority or cutting out or adding things. And this would be good. We do need to take action to worship Christ with out time. But our actions are a reaction to our beliefs. The issue is always a heart and mind issue. Our actions reflect the beliefs of our heart. This is why Romans 12:2 speaks of the renewing of the mind. So how do we renew our mind?
These Romans verses speak of offering your body as a living sacrifice and renewing your mind to know God’s will. I think other verses that can help us wrap our mind around worshipping God with our time is 1 Corinthians 6:20 and 7:23. We were bought with a price. We are not our own. If our bodies and our lives are not our own, then our time is not our own. How do we worship God with all of our time? We don’t see all of our time as all of our time. We now realize we are on God’s time. So we no longer just do whatever we think we should do whenever we want, but we ask Christ what he would have us do with his time. This renewing of the mind to see everything as God’s, including our time, is central to our ability to worship him unceasingly. So now I don’t decide how I use my time, Christ does.
This requires us to be in relationship with Christ and to be his church. We will not know how he wants us to spend our time if we are not in communion and relationship with him. You start seeing the real need to pray unceasingly because you will be asking God how he would have you use your time, and you will feel the need to know his word because without it how can we hear what he would have us to do and how we would live for his glory?
This also illuminates the life of Jesus as a very practical example of how we should spend our time. Jesus has time to pray to his father and be alone with his father. He has time for the sick stranger, the woman at the well, to walk with his brothers, to eat with sinners and serve others. Worshipping God with our time is beautiful. Christ came to give us life to the fullest and a life of loving him and loving others is so rich with purpose, meaning and love that if fulfills our heart like no other use of time can. This is why even non-Christians and other religions look at the life of Jesus and they see it as so stinking incredible and real. Christ has purchased your life on the cross and freed you from slavery so you could belong to the greatest master ever. Don’t settle for just a slice of the beautiful life offered but submit it all. Ask this loving Lord how to spend all of your time. My hope is that we would believe that our perfect loving Lord really does know the most fulfilling way to live life. Look to his example and listen to how he would have you spend all of your time.
Another great examiner of time is what we spend our time thinking about. What is the focus of all your thoughts? What is it in your mind that is tough to turn off? What do you lose sleep over? What do you daydream about? Fantasize about? What is the one thing that in your mind will fix everything? This is your god. This is what you worship with your thoughts. God is calling us to meditate on his word, to think of his glory and what he has done.
Philippians 4:4-7 says rejoice always. I want to take some time to show you not only the call to worship Christ continuously with your thoughts, but also the great freedom that comes with this. Many of you are crippled with anxiety, stress and worry. You may not sleep much, suffer panic attacks, are overwhelmed with stress and worry. These are all symptoms that flow out of a heart that has misplaced its worship. Panic attacks, worry, stress, lack of sleep are all symptoms that flow out of a heart that has misplaced its worship. If you are worshipping the Lord unceasingly you will not be able to have anxiety.
Anxiety is a real sin with deep roots and painful consequences. It is difficult for those around you to understand and often a simple “don’t worry” can be the most heartless and exacerbating counsel. I know this because in my family that was my counsel to my wife as she suffered through anxiety, panic attacks and lack of sleep.
In Philippians we see Paul warning against anxiety and pointing to the proper worship of Christ as the remedy for anxiety. I know many of you may respond to this by saying “you don’t understand my situation.” Paul is saying God will give you a peace that transcends all understanding. Even in situations that should bring about the most physical and stressful anxiety possible, the proper placed worship of Christ will give you freedom from anxiety. Paul is in a terribly stressful situation and yet he is able to rejoice and have a joyful heart because he has Christ as his foremost and a proper view of the right heaven.
Many of us have anxiety because of tough situations that lead to worry and a desire for a worldly heaven. Maybe you have money troubles and you worry about rent and your heaven is a steady job. Maybe you are trying to have kids but are infertile and worry about never having kids and a baby would be your heaven. Maybe you are sick and your heaven is health. We put our hope in a functional heaven and we have anxiety and worry because we have no control over our functional heaven. Paul has joy in the midst of terrible suffering. He thinks of what is good. He rests on the promises of God and he spends time thinking of Christ and knows that to die is gain. His heaven is being with Christ in the heaven he prepared. It would be easy for him to have anxiety and have a functional heaven of respect and freedom from his chains. But no, his freedom still rests in the eternal promises of Christ. The unceasing worship of Christ alone will free you from anxiety. The gospel alone will heal the physical ailments that come from misplaced worship.
Jesus echoes these thoughts on the call not to be anxious in Matthew 6:25-30. He too points to properly placed worship as the freedom from anxiety. In verse 32 he says “seek first the kingdom of God.” That which is central, that which is primary, that which is first in your life is what you worship. Christ says to seek him first. Worship him alone and you will be free from anxiety. I urge you that if you are struggling with anxiety please talk with your MC about it. Rest in God’s promises and place yourself in a place where others will remind you of his promises. For my wife, this has been the answer to her anxiety. Our circumstances have not changed but she is not plagued with anxiety. She meditates on God’s word and keeps her community close enough that they can see when anxiety and lies are creeping back in. It has been great to for me to learn to point her to the gospel and right-placed worship instead of a shallow “don’t worry.” We can point each other to true refuge which is in the kingdom of God. True refuge will be in his eternal kingdom. That will be where death, tears, poverty and sickness cease to exist. Let the promises of God comfort your anxious soul and let these promises catapult you from worry to worship, from stress to thanksgiving, from anxiety to rejoicing. The gospel is strong enough to give you a worship-filled thought life regardless of your circumstance. I long for you to taste the sweetness of the freedom from anxiety that is offered in Christ. To know the sweetness that is offered in a life that worships Christ with its thoughts.
Romans 12:1-2: “By the mercies of God.” We have covered a lot today on the call to worship God with all of our time and even how our thoughts can reflect how we worship and what we worship with our time. I believe many of us can hear this and come up with plans, schedules and resolutions to worship God with our time. And many of us will quickly fail, lose energy and go back to our old life style. In Romans we see Paul urge us to sacrifice our entire life to the worship of Jesus Christ. I want you to see and understand the transforming motivation behind this urging. “By the mercies of God.” It is only from a deep understanding of what God’s mercy is that we will present our bodies as living sacrifices. Mercy is not getting what we do deserve. We have to see that we deserve death. All of us have misplaced our worship and have had our time, thoughts and energy devoted to something or someone besides Jesus Christ. Because of our misplaced worship we deserve death. We not only deserve death, we deserve eternal punishment in hell. If we were judged on our own merits on whether or not we properly worshipped God with our whole lives, we would be found guilty of misplaced worship. This is our state before a holy, righteous, just and powerful God. We stand guilty with death looming. Like a convicted criminal who has been given the death penalty, our only hope is to fall to our knees and plead for mercy. We are helpless to save ourselves and helpless to earn anything but death. But God is rich in mercy and hears our cries. This is the beauty of the gospel. God gives us a new life. This is why we celebrate Christmas because by the mercies of God, a Savior was born. God did not leave us in our helpless, pitiful and guilty state but he sent a Savior and rescuer. He grants us mercy, and now we get to live a new life if we understand our true guilty state. If we have in mind the great mercies of God then we will joyfully offer up our bodies to worship Jesus Christ, and offer our life and time to glorify Jesus Christ. We will rejoice in the Lord always and be thankful because we know what we have been saved from. We know that it is only by his mercies that we are still alive. Remember this Christmas that your cries for mercy have been heard. We are free to worship him with all our thoughts and time! We get to! Remember the gospel. Amen.