Understanding the Good (Reasonable Acts of Worship Part 2)

Understanding the Good (Reasonable Acts of Worship Part 2) February 7, 2024

Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead, be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you. (Romans 12:3 CEB)


Back in Part 1, we talked about how the best way of finding our calling is to trust in the Lord and not to lean on our own understanding.  But why is that significant?


It is perfectly reasonable to expect that the One who prepared the path for us knows where it leads. Sometimes, that’s not where we thought we were going. A lot of times, actually. So if the end of the path we’re preparing for ourselves isn’t in the same place as the end of the path that God is preparing for us, then all of our careful planning is just a recipe for disappointment.


Have you experienced this in your own life? I know I have, in big and small ways. When I was 18, I was going to be a famous novelist. I’m 54 now, and that hasn’t happened. When I got my foot in the door with the State Government, I was going to fly through the system to the upper echelon and be a major player in state policy. All it takes is one change in the Governor’s Mansion to derail that plan.


Do I even need to mention my family life? I already have before,  if you need a reminder of all the things I’ve done according to the pattern of this world that I’d rather forget.


Follow the Leader


The point is that you can’t follow God if you don’t know He’s there to follow. And even if you do know, you WON’T follow God, unless you believe you can trust Him. And that trust only comes from taking your faith to the spiritual gym and giving it a workout, through study, prayer, and meditation.


What I have found is that exercising spiritual discipline doesn’t just help me see God more clearly. It also helps me see myself more clearly.


Spiritual Gifts


We all have different gifts. Each gift came because of the grace that God gave us. If one has the gift of prophecy, he should use that gift with the faith he has. If one has the gift of serving, he should serve. If one has the gift of teaching, he should teach. If one has the gift of encouraging others, he should encourage. If one has the gift of giving to others, he should give freely. If one has the gift of being a leader, he should try hard when he leads. If one has the gift of showing kindness to others, that person should do so with joy. (Romans 12:6-8 ICB)



The Church is often referred to as the Body of Christ. Just as every part of your physical body has a specific function, so every member of the Church has a role to play in building it up.


So, as God transforms our minds, and we lean less on our own understanding, He starts to illuminate our path by making us aware of the spiritual gifts he has given us. We are then more able to discern His will by discovering what He has wired us to do.


Sometimes a spiritual gift is a divine enablement that enhances the effectiveness of a talent or skill we already have. Sometimes it’s something totally new. Basically, whatever work God has for us to do, He gives us the tools we need to get it done. The more we stay out of His way and just go with it, the more things start to happen.


The list in the passage above is not all-inclusive, but does illustrate some of the gifts God gives His Church.


Some people receive messages from the Lord. They don’t always make sense to the one receiving them. But if they exercise faith, and not their own understanding, and deliver the message anyway, then the person or people meant to hear it will know what it means.


The same goes for serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, and showing mercy. The members of the Church can be somewhat effective in trying to figure out with their own understanding how to serve strategically with their gifts. But where the rubber really meets the road is when we submit to the leading of Holy Spirit, who brought us the gifts in the first place, and see where that leads us. It’s usually somewhere we didn’t plan on being around people we never would have thought of being in the midst of.


Romans 12:9 with sky in the background
Cling to the good. (Public Domain)

What is Good


Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. (Romans 12:9 NIRV)


So, what does it look like when the members of the Church function like the parts of a body?  It’s a lot more detailed than making sure the Wednesday night potluck goes off without a hitch!


First, we must remember that these are SPIRITUAL gifts, which means that there must have been a spiritual transformation that has taken place already. The greatest evidence of this is love.


Not feelings, but actions.  There is no room in the body of Christ for hypocrisy  or two-faced gossiping. We have to get this part right before we can move on with the rest of verse 9.


Hate what is evil.


If this sounds familiar, it is because we covered this verse thoroughly in the Necessity of Being Intolerant series.


I feel like I should reiterate, though, that the Bible clearly states to hate WHAT is evil, not WHO. There are still too many people misinterpreting this verse to justify judgmentalism.   We are not talking about hating people here. We are talking about behaviors and habits.


For more details regarding “what is evil,” I would encourage you to review the Necessity of Being Intolerant series, especially part 1.  But for now, I want to focus on the rest of Romans 12:9.


Hold on to What is Good


Verses 10-12 contain several examples of what is good, the things that we should hold on to. Let’s break this down verse by verse.


10 Love one another deeply. Honor others more than yourselves.


What is good in this verse is humility. C.S. Lewis once said that humility is not so much about thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. When the members of the Church body are centered where they should be, they don’t just use “brother” and “sister” as honorary titles, but truly do treat everyone else in the Church as family.


Remember, false humility makes a show of itself to build up the person showing it, but real humility builds up others, and is not self-seeking.


11 Stay excited about your faith as you serve the Lord.


When you know your calling,  your work should be a joy, not a grind. God’s part  is to prepare the work for us and equip us to do it. Our part is to have a zeal to meet God where He’s already working and join Him in that work.


12 When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful.


Hope  does not mean the kind of hope that is desperation mixed with doubt. It signifies a joyful expectation. You’re not wishing that something might happen; you’re eagerly awaiting something good that you are certain is coming.


Regardless of our gifts, one of the fruits of the Spirit  that all believers receive is patience.  Some older English translations actually use the word “longsuffering.”  If we have joyful hope that what is good is on the way, this helps us to endure what is not so good.


And we endure these things by being faithful in prayer. No matter how grim our circumstances get, we always have the ability to exercise this discipline. God can handle our anger and our disappointment, but He also wants us to remember that what is good comes from Him, and always at exactly the right time.


(For more of what is good, come back for the conclusion. Make sure to click the Free Newsletter link so you don´t miss it!)



"Our God given rights to life, liberty and property have always been against the abuse ..."

How to Love Your Neighbor as ..."
"That's strike 3 on the TDS. Yer outta here!"

What “Overcoming the World” Means: Part ..."
"Chris Rock had a point when someone brought the many Black folk who had adopted ..."

What “Overcoming the World” Means: Part ..."
"Tell me you're brainwashed without telling me you're brainwashed. Why are you even on this ..."

What “Overcoming the World” Means: Part ..."

Browse Our Archives