Luke 14:11 states: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” I can’t help but think of all the “duck lips” and selfies and derrieres I’ve seen within the past couple weeks or maybe years. People are proud. Proud of what? Their face? Their booty? A certain amount of self-confidence and a healthy dose of self-esteem is appropriate, sure. But I have to wonder: What are we constantly seeking? Approval? Compliments? Someone to notice how worthy we are of attention? As a whole, I think we are placing priority not on the God Who made us, but us.
I don’t want to exalt those who shouldn’t be, namely me. Anything I do is only because God allows me to do it. I have no talents that He hasn’t given me and until I have prayed about a situation, my ideas are limited at best. It’s not easy to live in this world and be set apart from it simultaneously. We were called to be renewed and transformed by the Word of God and some (I dare not say “most” for fear of my stomach turning) don’t even know what it says because the only time they open their Bible is on Sunday mornings, if they didn’t forget it at home. Ouch. That one stung me just a little bit, too.
It’s for that reason that for the next 30 days, I will be carrying a Bible with me. Anywhere I go, the Word of God will be readily available and at my fingertips, much like the smartphone I’m tired of eyeballing. I’ve come to a place where I need more God. More peace. More wisdom. More of anything He’s offering. “God30” begins tomorrow and I look forward to the insights I expect to receive. My priorities must shift. Instead of studying the “art of myself” and how to take the perfect selfie with ideal lighting in the greatest of angles, I’ll study anything the Creator Himself wants to point out each day. I can practice my Daffy Duck mouth another day.
One of the definitions of “sacrifice” is : “An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.” As I was reading in Hebrews one day, the phrase “sacrifice of praise” got me to thinking. The NIV states that “through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” (Hebrews 13:15) Praise is defined as an “expression of approval and admiration for someone or something.”
I thought about how Jesus sacrificed for us and found it strange to think that us giving thanks could even be considered in the same category of “sacrifice.” After all, He died for us, but clapping my hands on Sunday morning doesn’t seem remotely close to “returning the favor.” We don’t have to, I’m just letting you in on where my mind went.
When I was younger, I remember reading a story about a girl who had everything. She was the stereotypical “rich kid” if there is such a thing, and she wanted for nothing. She didn’t even have to ask for most material things, they seemed to appear out of thin air in her huge bedroom. Then one day, her father, a prominent businessman of some sort, was let go from his illustrious company. The young girl didn’t know how to act. After all, she wasn’t prepared to live this kind of life. Her father sadly let her know, “We must all be prepared to make sacrifices.” She had never had to do this before and wasn’t even sure how.
I think emotionally many of us are like that young girl–unprepared to make sacrifices the way we need to. We’ve grown accustomed to living the way we currently do. To “give up something valued” makes us uncomfortable and maybe a little itchy. We crinkle our noses and think, “What? No surely that’s not what I’m supposed to do.” Do we even know how to make sacrifices? “A sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” Is that important to you? Is He worthy in your life to receive such honor? Of course, we all nod and think, “Oh yes Lord! Yes you are!” But with that statement comes action. What is taking His place on the throne of worthiness? Can you, will you, replace it for the One Who created you? There will come a day when we stand before Him. What is so important in this world that we would be willing to defend it on that day?
Time passes quickly and it doesn’t require our approval to do so. It is limited. We can never get it back. Are we making the best use of it?