October 16, 2017
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2, NLT).
Friend to Friend
Sometimes all the good things in my life overwhelm me… not in a wondrous, “wow we are blessed” kind of way. Instead I get overwhelmed by all that has to be done and the lack of margin that accompanies these blessings. I can so easily lose the wonder and beauty of my gifts.
I am surrounded by wondrous things like nature, family, friends, purpose, opportunities, and a loving God. Yet these blessings so often lose their wonder as I attempt to manage them rather than relish and share them. I wonder if you can relate to complaining rather than savoring blessings similar to these scenarios:
· Yes you will be traveling a lot, which is hectic, but is it because you get to visit family or your child has an opportunity to travel and play sports?
· Going to doctor’s appointments and dealing with health issues is certainly difficult, but has the Lord provided excellent medical care and friends to come alongside?
· The calendar may be crammed full for a few weeks, but are many of the events and celebrations evidence of the abundance of opportunities and people in our lives?
Imagine for a moment how our complaints would sound to a family living in a hut in a third world country. Each of our blessings is meant to be a gift we treasure and offer up to the Lord rather than one more thing we have to manage.
The Israelites in the wilderness got their eyes off their blessings and lost the wonder of what the Lord had done. They had seen God:
· Split the Red Sea so they could walk through
· Provide water to drink from a rock when they were thirsty
· Put manna on the ground each morning so they wouldn’t starve
God did some pretty wondrous things for them, yet they complained about the length of the journey, the leadership, the lack of variety of food, and many other frustrations they encountered. So later when their 40 years of wandering was complete, the Lord instituted a system of offerings to help them remember all He had done. (Numbers 28:1-15)
These offerings were perpetual reminders for the people to respond to their God with gratitude. There was no other God who created everything, worked miracles, provided supernatural food, and made good on His promises. By offering daily, weekly, and monthly sacrifices, they would institute a rhythm of life to help them with thankfulness.
God instituted this plan for worship that involved a lot of blood and sacrifice. In history, the wilderness wanderers stood on the other side of the cross of Christ. These offerings pointed toward ultimate sacrifice and redemption through the blood of Christ. They were a temporary covering to remind the people of God’s holiness and their own sinfulness.
Sacrifices such as these after the cross would be redundant and unnecessary because they were shadows that pointed to Christ. But to the Israelites who lived before the cross, they reminded the people of the blessing of God’s grace. The emphasis on offerings in Numbers reminds us of the enormity of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.
Under the New Covenant, the need for these sacrifices is obsolete. However, God still calls us to spiritual rhythms to help us keep our blessings in perspective. Romans 12:1-2 reminds us to give ourselves wholeheartedly to Him. We worship Him by offering our lives to Him and seeking His way over our own desires and feelings. We ask God to transform us by aligning our thoughts with His. To rediscover wonder means allowing God to change the way we think about our blessings.
Dear Lord, please help me to appreciate and savor my blessings. I don’t want to focus on the inconveniences than sometimes accompany the good things in my life and miss out on seeing You in everything. Help me Lord to offer myself continually to You. I love You Jesus and am so grateful for the offering of Your life on the cross. Help me to rediscover today the wonder of You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
How are you doing? Do you find yourself managing your blessings or taking the time to relish them? God Himself is our greatest blessing, yet so often we lose the wonder of His grace. Remember that He is the God who splits seas and provides for needs. Then ask the Lord to transform you into a new person by changing the way you think about your activities and responsibilities. Will you join me today in rediscovering wonder?
More from the Girlfriends
Melissa Spoelstra is a women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages know Christ more intimately through serious Bible study. This devotion was adapted from her newest Bible study, Numbers: Learning Contentment in a Culture of More. Visit www.melissaspoelstra.com/contentment-project to sign up for a free 7 day contentment project which includes taking five minutes each day to focus on the wonder of God.
Originally published Monday, 16 October 2017.