I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your
bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service
The God who fashioned you before you existed and knew you
while you were within your mother's womb is He who knows both your capabilities and your
limitations. He is the manufacturer of your heart and the builder of your life, and in His
wisdom, He does not expect you to be anything that you were not created to be.
However, God does expect us to do our best at whatever we do as though we do it for His
benefit and not our own. And what is pleasing to Him is when He sees in us a fervent
spirit that works hard and afterwards can settle back and find confidence in knowing that
we have done a good job. Not that we might boast of ourselves, but that we might recognize
our own hard work and find pleasure in a productive day--and within that, give glory to
God for making us thus and so.
Yet many times we meet challenges and hit them with all we have only to find that we
cannot do what we expect ourselves to do. We might lose heart and wonder where we went
wrong. . ."Did I overestimate my abilities?" we might ask. But then perhaps we
become like the pessimist who sees the glass half empty, and rather than seeing the hard
work we have done, we diminish the good from it by reflecting only upon our limitations.
Jesus tells us in John 7:24 that we should "Judge not according to the appearance,
but judge righteous judgment." Yet we find that if we quickly turn around that we are
often the only ones who are breathing down our necks or staring over our shoulders. We are
our own worse critics, and we are often the first to proclaim that our best is not good
enough. And rather than looking at what God has given us the ability to accomplish, we
sneer our lips and mutter, "I should have done better!"
Perhaps we do not realize that when we have done our best and then reject it, we are not
only putting down who we are but we are also putting God down. For we are the work of His
hands and we should stand in awe of all that He has done. When God's creation functions
the way it was supposed to it is a reason for praise. But for some reason His standard is
not good enough for us. For if we live up to His expectations yet fall short of ours, we
are somehow insinuating that we know better than God what is "acceptable" and
that "which is [our] reasonable service."
There is a righteous pleasure that we can come to experience as we do our best at all we
do. For in so doing we magnify our Creator as we allow ourselves as His creation to
function the way He had purposed before we were born. As God is the maker of our person He
is also the one who sets the standard that we are to live by. Trying to live up to our
standards or the standards of others will often leave us feeling that we are somewhat of a
failure. For though we are less than perfect, we often expect nothing less than perfect
from ourselves. But God sees in truth, and as we learn to trust in what He thinks of us
rather than what we or what others think, then we will come to accept who we are, and we
will learn that our best is good enough, and worth giving glory to God for when we do it.
In this we find what is that good and perfect and acceptable will of God, which is our
reasonable service. We should look at ourselves through the eyes of God, for as we do we
will see ourselves for who we really are--not less than, or greater than--but we shall
know ourselves even as we are known--and then comes contentment to be the person God has
made us to be.