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But proffering our physical lives as living sacrifices, we get the benefit of living life to its fullest because we are in agreement with God as to priorities and purpose. We aren’t really giving up our lives. We are learning to stand beside ourselves and see ourselves as God sees us. We see our potential through God’s eyes. We see the possibilities for service from God’s perspective. Instead of burning incense, offering animals, or even putting our money on the line, our sacrifice is to be a life lived according to God’s agenda.

Now, just as you don’t really have an athletic contest without rules (and usually, without keeping score), you really don’t have worship until it leads to action. The great behavioral scientist of the early 20th century, William James, made this a point in his Varieties of Religious Experience. He said that the only way to judge a faith was to see what it accomplished in a practical way. I’m not sure we can ever have enough facts at our disposal to make such a judgment about others, but I think we need to see our faith making a difference in our daily lives if we’re really living in faith.

My former New Testament professor, Dr. Fred L. Fisher, repeatedly said that there was no such thing as worship in the New Testament that didn’t lead to service. Faith that doesn’t lead to action isn’t real faith. You might have heard that before. James told us that in James 2:17. To continue the athletic analogy, it isn’t enough to get the ball into the “Red Zone,” we need to get it over the goal line. It isn’t enough to take it to the warning track, we want to hit it over the fence. And that goal line or home run fence is serving God and serving God by serving others.

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