13 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. 4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
This passage is gold for advice on the things that are important for Christian living: Love one another; show hospitality, even to those who you don’t know; pray for the oppressed; pray for the suffering; keep marriage honoured and honourable; seek contentment and make sure money doesn’t end up being an idol to you.
All these principles I’ve strived to live by with reasonable success over the past 18 years, but what I realised recently, is that I have also spent a good deal of my Christian walk doing it backwards! I’ve realised that all these elements of Christian living are meant to come out of our worship of God, but I was kind of doing them just because I thought they were just the right things to do.
They are good things, and I was definitely worshipping God along the way, its just that my motivation for being good was going via my steel-willed determination to be a good person, and let me tell you, its really hard work! The Bible presents a better way:
In this section of scripture, if we read Hebrews 12, it is clear that before addressing the practical matters of Christian living, the author writes for at least a whole chapter on the importance of faith and positioning yourself in a place of connection with God.
Romans chapter 12 is full of practical advice on service and love in action too, but it starts with verse 1: ” Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” It’s a verse on worship.
Lord, thank you for revealing your majesty to us and being so worthy of our worship. Thank you that worship is not just about declaring who you are, but in participating in worship, we become more like you and our hearts are transformed to be able to seek after our deepest desires to not only serve you, but also to be obedient to your precepts for living!
Written by Ps Justin Ware