Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Holy to the Lord

A crown from the collection of the Wittelsbach Family of Munich
     Today marks the beginning of Lent a forty day period set aside to reflect on the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This is also a time to consider our walk with the Lord and repent of our sins before Him in preparation for the great celebration of Christ's resurrection on Easter.  While prayer and meditation on the Word should be a part of our daily routine already, we need to go a step further and consider what it means to follow Christ.
     In his letter to believers, Peter penned these words:  "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light" (I Peter 2:9).  This is what it means to be called a Christian.  We are ministers set apart unto God as His people, consecrated and called to declare the praises of the Lord.   Furthermore, He has sealed us with His Holy Spirit and written His name upon our hearts.  What a privilege to belong to Christ!
     This relationship was foreshadowed in the Old Testament when the Lord set apart Aaron and his sons for the priesthood.  Reading the specific directions for the clothing that priests were to wear, I came across this verse in Exodus 28:36-37:  "You shall make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet, 'Holy to the Lord'.  And you shall fasten it on the front of the turban."  From the description, we know that Aaron was set apart to the Lord.  He wore the turban on which this solid gold plate was attached.  He was called to serve God, and the Lord made it clear that the priesthood would not end.  Now the ministry has been given to those who are called by Christ, and instead of a golden plate, God has inscribed on our hearts "Holy to the Lord".  We were purchased by the blood of the Lamb on the cross.  We are no longer our own, but we live to serve God declaring His praises.  So how do we go about living a life set apart to our Savior?
     First, we can demonstrate our calling by joining in family, church and individual praise of our Lord on a regular basis.  God called us out of this world to live a different sort of life from that of the world system around us.  We are to lift His name up with a thankful heart no matter what our circumstances are in this life.  People will notice the person who is motivated by praise rather than complaining.  This attitude of praise lifts up the Lord and others around us rather than tearing down.
     Secondly, as a Royal priesthood, we are to stand for the Lord's truth as found in His Word.  Like an ambassador, we are to represent by our words and deeds the government of God to a fallen and dark world.  Today, many people are afraid to take a stand for what they believe, but as Christians, we are called to obey the Lord and stand for His truth.  No one said this would be easy which is why regular fellowship with other believers is so important to us.  We need one another in order to receive encouragement to fulfill the call that God has given to each one of us.
     Finally, we are called to declare the Gospel to those who may never have heard the Words of truth.  Jesus gave us this commission before He ascended to heaven (Matt. 28:18-20).  We do not know whom the Lord has called;  however, our job is to tell everyone we meet about the Lord of Life that we serve.  The results are in God's hands.  What a privilege to share the Good News of salvation with others!  There is no greater joy in all the world than to see someone give their life to Christ.
     Too often, I think the feeling amongst many believers is that the job of ministering only belongs to Pastors.  Yet, if we read and re-read the Scripture, we can see that God has called us to be "Holy to the Lord"....set apart...sanctified to Him for His purpose and glory.  How well are we doing?  As we enter this season of contemplation before Easter, we need to seriously sit down and evaluate how we are serving God.  Are we praising His name each day by the way we live and speak?  Do we take a stand for His namesake when others challenge our faith?  Are we telling others about Jesus Christ and what He has done for us?  If we are not, we need to repent and re-think our call in Christ.  We may not be preaching each Sunday in a pulpit as a vocation, but our lives preach daily to those around us at work, at home and in our church.  May the Lord find us faithful, and may we each remember that we are "Holy to the Lord."  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts and insights here.  Have you ever considered that you are a priest before the Lord?  Please feel free to share a verse, a thought or comment to encourage one another.

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