I began my morning helping my husband, Bob, read a Psalm. It's hard to believe, but we're in his eighth year of surviving a traumatic brain injury. Bob's come a long way from the doctors' dire prognosis. However, he still has trouble talking and understanding. Even so, I push him to keep trying. (I wrote about his injury in That's Not a Dog That's a Paper Clip.)
Today, as Bob attempted to read Psalm 23, he got stuck on several words, which I made him repeat. This frustrated him. He gets mad and wants to quit, and then I get upset that he doesn’t want to keep trying. There are days when I pray, “Lord, how can I keep doing this? And why do I keep doing this?!” This morning was one of those days. When we were finished, I continued reading a daily devotional. The verse for the day was written by the Apostle Paul from Romans 12:1-3, “Therefore I urge you, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Some translations say, “. . . which is your spiritual service,” or “. . . your true and proper worship,” or “. . . your spiritual act of worship.” Yet the term in Greek is logikós, meaning rational, reasonable, or logical to God.)
I began thinking, what are reasonable services in our culture? I imagine taking a driving class, doing community service, or paying some sort of fine would be reasonable services for breaking traffic laws. But today’s timely verse, which spoke powerfully to me, is about reasonable service to God. To understand Paul's bold statement, we must read the preceding chapters of Romans, because whenever a paragraph begins with “Therefore,” we must always find out what it is “there for”! Paul explains that sin entered the world through Adam, which brought a sentence of death to everyone (5:12). Our sin and stubborn hearts separate us from God (2:9). No one measures up to God’s perfection (3:23). Furthermore, we owe a great debt to God for sinning against him, and the penalty for our sin is death (6:23). Paul continues in chapter 11, explaining that God has shown great mercy to Gentiles, those who were not part of Israel, and joined them to the main tree of Israel, thereby creating one people of God.
God has found everyone guilty of not obeying him. And because we broke God’s laws, we owe him a great debt. Unlike traffic laws,
whereby we can pay the debt owed, we can never pay the debt owed to our holy God. Yet, because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, God can
show mercy to everyone who calls on the name of the Lord (10:13) and he will forgive our sins”
(11:32). Therefore, it is reasonable, rational, and logical that we would serve him;
not because we have to, but because it is our spiritual form of
As I considered this truth, of presenting my life as a living sacrifice, I was reminded again that sacrifice isn’t easy; it’s painful! Yet, because God has allowed this in our lives, my reasonable service to him includes being a patient and kind caregiver towards my husband.
God promises his undeserved favor to be sufficient—his loving grace is enough to see his children through our trials (2 Corinthians 12:9). Amazingly, God promises that all things will be worked for our good (Romans 8:28), which sometimes, if not most often, might not be realized until after the trouble is over.
In light of eternity, does knowing what God has done for you, help put into perspective your momentary suffering? Have you experienced God working good from your trials? I’d love to hear from you. Email me at: email@example.com.
Pray With Me
Dear Lord, Thank you for your mercy and forgiveness. Give me strength for today. Help me not to grow weary in doing good. Help me to live with an eternal perspective, so that my thoughts and actions are pleasing to you. Amen.
Copyright 2021 Sarah A. Keith
Teach children about God’s promises!
* The Great Promises of the Bible—from Genesis to Revelation
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