1 Peter 1:13-17 - Wherefore girding up the loins of your mind, be sober and set your hope perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in [the time of] your ignorance: but like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to each man's work, pass the time of your sojourning in fear:
Growing up, I remember watching a television show called “Let’s Make a Deal.” It showcased people in funny, and sometimes outrageous, costumes, jumping up and down, all the while yelling at the top of their lungs so the host would pick them to compete in the next game. The show is based around deals offered to members of the audience by the host. The contestants usually have to weigh the possibility of an offer being for a valuable prize, or an undesirable item. In the simplest format, a contestant who wins a prize of medium value (such as a television set), was offered the opportunity to trade for another prize. However, the offered prize was unknown. It might be concealed on the stage behind one of three curtains, or behind "boxes" onstage (large panels painted to look like boxes), within smaller boxes brought out to the audience, or occasionally in other formats. The challenge lay in whether you were satisfied with the gift you had won or did you take the chance on ending up with nothing of value.
In everyday life, we are always looking to "make a deal." It might be waiting for the sale to occur at the store we shop at or on some item we want. It might be in the negotiation of the price of the house or vehicle we are looking to buy. We want the most return, while giving up little or nothing at all.
Unfortunately, people often carry the same attitude and practice over into their religious life. We try to make a deal with God to determine the most we can acquire from him in exchange for offering the least of ourselves.
In times of need we will promise more faithfulness if he will but grant our wish. We might want more money so we pray to God and throw in the condition if he grants our prayer we will give more to the church. We want a home in heaven but only offer to give up what we want, when we should focus on complete obedience and submission to God.
This is nothing new in the religious world. The Jews cried out for deliverance from Egypt and promised to worship Jehovah. Once delivered, they continually tried to make a deal to have their own way but also stay under the umbrella of God’s care. Deal making was a continuous pattern for them.
This attitude of deal making is consistent with a lack of respect for God, his position and his authority. Few of us think of ourselves as being outright irreverent, but true reverence includes respect, and there are often ways in which our respect for God leaves something to be desired.
Rather than viewing God's will with the utmost seriousness, the temptation is to trifle with Him and His will while trying to serve Him on our terms. Is our commitment anything like a person who describes himself as “deeply superficial”? The word “half-hearted” often describes our attitude.
Rev. 3:15-16 – I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth .
We sometimes fail to act in such a way as to instill deep respect for God in the minds of others.
Numbers 20:12 - Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them’
We should have a deep-seated respect for God.Pleasing God, showing Him reverence, and living our lives in complete obedience and submission to Him should be our most serious concern.
There are some things we cannot do and have the right respect for God.
1. We cannot be indifferent to God 1.1. In a “secular” society most people will feel that religion simply does not matter — the average person will not take God into account as an active, practical concern. 1.1.1. Even as Christians, we sometimes catch ourselves acting as if other things were relatively more important to us than God. 1.1.2. We seem to believe that God can safely be relegated to the outside edge of our lives and then brought back to the forefront when needed. 1.2. What do the scriptures say? 1.2.1. Matt 6:24 – No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. 1.2.2. Rev. 3:15-16 – I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
2. We cannot accommodate God to ourselves 2.1. We often try to adjust or fit God to ourselves — to “domesticate” God, or cut Him down to a level that fits our lifestyle. 2.2. If we find God and His will intrusive on our “lifestyle” or an embarrassment before our friends, we may try to moderate it and make it convenient. 2.2.1. Mark 8:34-38 – And he called unto him the multitude with his disciples, and said unto them, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's shall save it. For what doth it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? For what should a man give in exchange for his life? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. 220.127.116.11. We need to renounce ourselves, abstain from everything that stands in the way of our duty to God 2.3. We ought to let God be God, and conduct our lives as His submissive creatures. 2.4. In Romans, Paul condemns the Gentiles for they once knew God but didn’t like to retain him in their knowledge. They were without excuse. 2.4.1. Romans 1:21 – Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 18.104.22.168. To glorify Him as God is to regard with proper reverence His perfections and laws, to venerate His name, His power, His holiness, and His presence by words and acts and to worship Him as our maker and creator. 2.4.2. Rom. 1:25 – Who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. 22.214.171.124. They gave up the truth of God and followed the deceptive reasonings of their own hearts. 2.5. If any accommodation needs to be made, let it be our accommodation to God!
3. We cannot confine God to one compartment of life 3.1. By its very nature, the commitment we make to God is all-encompassing. 3.1.1. Luke 5:11 - And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. 3.1.2. Acts 2:42-47 - And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need. And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved. 3.2. We cannot know what the full ramifications of our faith will turn out to be or how much sacrifice the Lord’s service will end up requiring of us. 3.3. We sign a blank contract with God when we obey the gospel. 3.4. When we begin to see what full obedience is going to mean, we may try to confine God to one compartment of life (the “religious”) and keep the others to ourselves (the “secular”). 3.5. But we cannot put the living God in any box of our own making. 3.5.1. 2 Cor. 8:5 – And this they did, not as we had hoped, but first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God 126.96.36.199. In describing the Macedonians giving, Paul says they went beyond that which was hoped for. 188.8.131.52. This is the way we must live our life, going beyond not looking to just get by. 184.108.40.206. Encompassing God in our whole life 3.5.2. Col. 3:17 – And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him 3.6. There is no area of life where God’s will is irrelevant.
4. We cannot mock God 4.1. Children — if they know “Now don’t do that” is an empty threat — will often do as they please with a contemptuous mockery toward their parents. 4.2. We can ill afford to take this disrespectful approach with God 4.2.1. Galatians 6:7, 8 - Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap 4.3. We may actually treat God with less respect than we would another human being - Mal. 1:6-8. Cf. Isa. 1:10-15. 4.4. But God will not be insulted or trifled with 4.4.1. Proverbs 28:9 – One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination 4.5. In Luke 9:57-62, Jesus sifted those who only wanted a superficial attachment to Him from those who wanted a serious involvement. 4.5.1. To be near God with our words, but far from Him in our hearts is to be in a dire condition 220.127.116.11. Matt. 15:8 – These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me
It takes a completely serious, conscientious approach to go to heaven. Paul states, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Living a life for God on His terms does away with the perceived need to make a deal.
1 Pet. 1:13 – Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
When looking at making a “deal” in regards to religious matters, we need to understand that the deal has been made, the price has been paid and the deal is open to all, but only on God’s terms.
As we reflect on this study, may we think about God more seriously, obey His commands more completely, be more totally involved in His work, and give ourselves more sacrificially to Him.
May God continue to bless you as you serve in His kingdom!