“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” –Romans 12:1-2 ESV
Getting down on my knees was never very comfortable for me. I’m not sure why. I could do it, but I just couldn’t stay that way very long without cramping up, getting fidgety and desperately wanting to stretch my legs. This condition has only worsened as I’ve aged. Plus, there’s now the added inability to easily get back to my feet. The struggle is real!
I had the privilege of visiting the Chistia Seva Mission headquartered in Chikkaballapur, India a few years ago. I was amazed at the fact that everyone, young and old, sat on the floor for worship services. It’s true they didn’t kneel the whole time, but it feels sort of the same to me. I wouldn’t be able to do it. Sitting on the floor in this scrunched up position without the ability to straighten my legs would be excruciating.
Especially when you consider that the service was generally about three hours long!
Of all my body parts, my knees are, without doubt, the hardest part to offer as a living sacrifice. Not just physically, but mainly because of what it represents.
When does kneeling normally take place?
1. When you beg for mercy. (Like maybe a marriage proposal?)
2. When you are in the presence of royalty.
3. When you surrender in defeat.
Basically, you kneel when you acknowledge that your life is not your own. It belongs to another. You are powerless when you kneel. All the power belongs to the one who is standing before you.
No wonder this is so hard.
We have the (sinful) tendency to want control. We pray for God to bless us and tell him how to do it. We ask for God to guide us and go our own way. Oh, we always add the phrase “your will be done” but what we usually mean is “make my will your will.”
Or, am I the only one who does this?
God is not a genie who does our bidding. He is not some mystical “power” available to us to use for our own purposes.
He is…well, he’s God.
In an amazing act of love he has granted us the freedom to choose him as our King or reject him, but that doesn’t mean there are really any options. We can choose him and live, or reject him and die. Eternally.
We’re not in charge. We don’t make the rules. Try as we might.
We comfort ourselves with warm, “feel-good” phrases about how “God is for us, so who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) forgetting that “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword” are still part of the deal (Romans 8:35). We’d just as soon avoid all this stuff completely, thank you very much! God promises that these things are all powerless to separate us from God’s love, but is that enough?
And here’s the kicker:
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
Like it or not, at some point we’re all gonna kneel.
Present your knees as a living sacrifice.
Below is a song we did in our choir many years ago. It was one of my favorite songs that year, and it still comes to my mind from time to time. Like when I wrote the above post.
Bow the Knee
Chris Machen/Mike Harland
©1997 Centergetic Music
Bow the knee;
Trust the heart of your Father
when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee;
Lift your eyes toward heaven
and believe the One who holds eternity.
And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan,
In the presence of the King,
bow the knee.