Matthew 2:11 NIV
“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
Honoring the King
Do you truly want to honor the King of kings and Lord of lords? Then humble yourselves, repent of your sins, leave your lifestyles of sin behind you, submit to Christ as Lord (owner-master) of your lives and walk in obedience to his commands (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Eph 4:17-24).
For the worship of Christ that he requires is such as this. It is that we present to Jesus our lives (our bodies) as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is our acceptable and true worship of him (Rom 12:1-2).
This means that we are committed to walking in moral purity, to loving God with our whole being, and to loving others as we love ourselves. It means that we are not just talking the walk, but we are walking the walk for the glory and praise of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We don’t just give lip service to the Lord while we go about our days every day of the week doing mostly what we want to do. Instead, our lives are surrendered to Jesus Christ to obeying him in doing what he has called us to do – to going where he sends us and to saying and doing what he desires.
For, Jesus doesn’t want our accolades, i.e., our ceremonial acknowledgments of him. He is not interested in our traditions and our holidays supposedly intended to give him honor, but which are mostly about us, not about him, and where he takes a back seat to the idols of this world.
He wants our all on the altar of sacrifice laid, our hearts under the Spirit’s control. For, we can only be blest, and have peace and sweet rest, as we yield to Him our bodies and souls (from “Is Your All on the Altar?”).
Yielding to Him
How is it that so many people use this passage of Scripture in Matthew to give justice to their celebrations which are mostly about them and what they want with little to no consideration for what Jesus wants or if he is even pleased with such celebrations?
They use this story of the Magi bowing down and worshiping Jesus and their giving to him precious gifts to justify giving one another expensive gifts and having parties which have nothing to do with honoring Jesus the way in which he requires that we honor him.
If we are to follow this story of the magi as our example of how to honor King Jesus, then we won’t be having parties where we eat lots of food we don’t need, where we give each other gifts we don’t need and we can’t afford, and where we play games and/or watch immoral holiday movies.
For, they bowed down to him. They lowered themselves before him, in his presence. They humbled themselves before him. They denied self. They saw themselves as less and him as greater, even though he was then a child. And they worshiped him as Lord God and King.
Jesus was the total focus. No one else. He was it! He didn’t have to share center stage with a false god who steals the hearts of children away from Jesus to follow after himself. And he didn’t have to share the stage with parties, games, movies, food, and gifts not given to him. He was it!
And true worship of Jesus was also the focus, not idol worship. There were no other gods before him that day. All the glory, all the praise, all the worship, and all the giving of gifts were for him and for him alone. For he alone is worthy of our praise.
Conforming to Him
When we follow the traditions of this world, and we do the things that we do merely because our parents and their parents did them, and the way in which they did them, we are conforming our lives to the ways of this world, not to the ways of God.
But as followers of Jesus, we are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this world, but we are to be transformed in the renewing of our minds so that we can discern what is God’s will – his pleasing, good and perfect will for our lives (Rom 12:1-2).
Some things are obvious that we are to forsake, such as sinful practices mentioned in the Scriptures. We are to throw off those sins which easily entangle us and anything weighing us down which is keeping us from following our Lord in the way he would have us to go.
Other things he wants us to forsake may not be as obvious, on a surface level, until we look at what lies underneath them, such things as idolatry and the conforming our lives to the patterns of this world which is in contradiction to the ways in which our Lord wants us to live.
These may be things we may not immediately become aware of when we first trust in Jesus to be Lord and Savior of our lives, but as we grow in Christ and we become more like him, we begin to see these things as the Spirit reveals them to our hearts.
But as we become aware of them, and as he reveals them to us, however he chooses to reveal them to us, we must not resist him. We must not hold on to our traditions and decide we know best while we ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit to let go of those traditions so that Jesus can be our all in all.
Wrapping it Up
So, this season, as many are celebrating a holiday that traditionally has been regarded as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, please prayerfully consider whether or not your celebrations are what God requires of you and whether or not they truly are honoring him as the King of kings.
For, the magi bowed down, they humbled themselves before the Lord, they worshipped him (gave him respect, reverence, and honor), and they gave their gifts to him and to him alone. And HE was their total focus, and no one and not anything else but Jesus only.
And that is how we should treat Jesus, too. He alone is to be the one that we worship with our lives. We are to humble ourselves before him. We are to submit to him as Lord. And we are to give him our lives as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, no longer conformed to the ways of this world.
Fit for Service
An Original Work / October 5, 2011
Holy Spirit, come within us.
Cleanse our hearts,
and from sin free us.
Make us holy vessels fit
for service to the King.
Fill us with Your love and power.
Anoint us within this hour
To be living witnesses
For Jesus Christ, our King.
Our praise to Him bring.
Father God, our heart’s desire,
Come and speak to us in power.
Revive our hearts to obey You;
Live for You always.
May we love and serve You only,
Walking with You;
Not a phony.
May we always tell the truth,
And show integrity.
Your true servants be.
Jesus, Savior, sanctify us.
Purify our hearts within us;
Be transformed into Your likeness,
Holy unto You.
May we always listen to You
Speaking Your words
Now within us.
May we heed Your counsel to us;
Follow You today.
Do all that You say.