Thursday, March 6, 2008

We Lost That Loving Feeling

Good morning my friends,

I believe we have lost a bit of respect for our God. There was a time when we would dress our very best on Sundays as a sign of respect. We would treat everything to do with worship with a sense of reverence and perhaps fear. I know I was raised to respect the property of the church because it belonged to Jesus. As a child, if I was going to be bad on Sunday, I would wait until I was away from the church. Perhaps a silly idea but one that showed I was raised to respect what belonged to God. Unfortunately the teaching that everything belongs to the Lord did not sink in as far.

As we read Leviticus this morning we get this same sense of reverence and respect for the things of God. God demanded it. The priests no longer belonged to themselves but to God and they were expected to behave in a manner different from the general population. In fact, this was so important that any priest who had a defect could not make the offerings. They were not cut off and rejected from the priesthood; they simply could not approach the holy things of worship. Why? Because:

I am the LORD, who makes them holy. (Leviticus 21:23)

In a couple of generations where irreverence is the rule of the day it is hard for us to understand this kind of respect. The problem is, if we lose respect and fear of our God then we also lose them for the created things of God. Would you say that we live in a society that emphasizes respect for our neighbours or do we place our rights above those of our neighbour’s? Consider some of the teachings of Jesus. What did he emphasize? What about Paul’s letters? What did he often say?

Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' (Matthew 22:37-39)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

As we lose our love, our respect of our God everything else begins to slip as well. But do we not realize that we too have been called as priests, to serve our God with our lives? Do we not understand the importance of treating all of God’s created things with respect but especially his holy things, our brothers and sisters? We too have rules to follow but these rules spring willingly from hearts filled with love for our God:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:1-17)

We are a holy people, instruments chosen by God to serve his holy purpose. Either we have forgotten that fact or we have forgotten our respect for our Holy God. We continue to look for that renewed spiritual awakening.

10 comments:

audrey said...

i agree that we've lost that mentality of respect we had to God. He deserves our best!

Niki said...

I guess this really is a matter of perspective. Some people, like youself, like to dress up on Sunday to show respect. Other people think that God doesn't care about what you wear or what you look like, and go to church in whatever they want. And that leaves a question unanswered. Does God care about what we wear on Sunday? Doesn't it say somewhere in the Bible that God doesn't care about what we look like and what we wear?

Jessika said...

I think that it is true that have lost a bit of respect for God

Brandon said...

Thats wierd imagining everyone as priests. I agree we are God's instruments.

Kendall said...

respect is a very important thing , but i dont think we lost our respect for God we just dont respect him as much anymore. it like we totally blew him away i know for a fact that some people didnt blow him away.

Pastor Paul said...

Niki,

Is that fact or Urban Legend. I challenge any of you to find where it says in the Bible that God does not care about our level of respect. IF it did not matter why did he spend so much time telling the priests what was proper?

Let's look at it from a different perspective. The Prime Minister of Canada or the Queen of England invites you for a meeting. Seriously, how would you dress? So why has our attitude toward God changed so much that we feel he does not deserve the same amount of respect. Clothes are just an outward expression of an inward attitude. It is not about the clothes but instead the attitude.

sasha said...

I think thats real that lose and our losing the repect of God in many way -clothing on Sunday monrning.

Naomi S. said...

Respect is very important, and unfortunately most of us have lost our respect for God. He deserves our best, whether its the clothes we wear, or the vocabulary we use, we should use our best.

Stephen said...

I kinda think that like, well I mean it's not right to dress up in skulls and upside down crosses and whatever but I still don't think that God want's us to wear a "mask" and wear something we don't normally wear, I think that mabye he would rather us show him who we really are to him, opening up in a way, and about the going to see the Prime minister of Canada or the Queen of Englad thing, well to me they aren't the same as God, The Queen would probably think that we were weird not to wear a suit and tie, but God doesnt, and what as dressing our best anyway? Dressing how the most "fancy" people dress or something like that? Don't they say you can't judge a book by it's cover? You wouldn't want to read a book that says, "How to be a successful business man" and start reading and it has nothing to do with being a successfull business man afterall.."btw successfull business manthing was just an example"

Pastor Paul said...

Stephen,

I can understand from your point of view what you are saying, however at the same time you are providing me with a fine example of what I was writing about. Just because some parts of society does not recognize certain standards does not mean those standards are no longer in place.

It is clear through Gods Word that he not only expects our best he demands our best. We were to bring the first fruits and if any offering or priest had a blemish it would not be accepted. Perhaps your best is not a shirt and tie, that is fine but your best is certainly better than jeans and a dirty shirt.

Where did God tell the Israelites to "just be yourself"? He gave them laws that the had to conform to. Yes, we are now governed by his grace but does that mean our love offers less than what the law required.

Our love and respect for God should be such that we want more than an attitude of sitting down with a friend to watch TV. Jesus is a friend but he is also more than that; he is King of kings and Lord of lords. If we cannot even see how we aught to respect him then we should understand that we have let things slip.