Yesterday we looked at one of the great abilities that God is looking for in all of His people – the ability of availability. Today we are going to take a look at the second of these abilities – acceptability.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. (Genesis 4:1-7)
A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 1:6-8)
The Ability of Acceptability
As we studied yesterday, God wants us to present ourselves as we are and make ourselves available to be used by Him. But, as we will study today, in order to be greatly used by God, we must first make ourselves acceptable to Him. Yesterday was a study on our willingness to be used; today we will be discussing our ability to be used. Romans tells us that we are to present our bodies as a sacrifice to God, daily surrendering our own desires for the glory of God. However, before we can be used we must first become useable. Just as a person would not use a toilet brush for a toothbrush, God cannot use people whose lives are not acceptable to Him. As we saw yesterday, God wants to use everyone, but He has a standard that must be met before he can use a person. This verse in Romans gives us the first step in living an acceptable life: holiness. The word holy means sacred or set apart. God wants to use people that will be set apart totally for Him and for His service. God is a jealous God; He is unwilling to share you with someone or something else. The first of the Ten Commandments is, Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. If you want to be acceptable to God you must be set apart for Him, unwilling to compromise with the world.
The Acceptable Sacrifice
In Genesis, we see the passage that really sums up the steps to living an acceptable life. Cain and Able, the first two brothers ever to live on the earth had been given two different tasks and responsibilities with their lives: Able was a shepherd and Cain was a farmer. From their father they had also learned about the blood sacrifices that they had to make for the payment of their sins, as well as for an offering to God. Cain however, felt that what he was doing should have been enough for God; that God should not have expected more from him. One day, Cain came to God with an offering, but it was not an offering of blood as God had commanded, but an offering of fruit and vegetables. Able also brought an offering to God, an offering of the blood of a lamb. God rejected Cain’s offering, but He accepted the offering of Able. God already made it clear that the only offering that He would accept was an offering of blood, so the rejection of Cain’s offering should not have surprised him. But Cain became very angry with God. God asked Cain a seemingly obvious question: “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” Cain remained angry until he killed his brother. We can talk about how foolish Cain was for not doing what God told him to do, but how often do we get angry at God for not accepting our leftovers. God says clearly in Malachi that he was sick of the people giving Him their leftovers. He told them to try offering them to the rulers and see if they appreciated them. God wants our first, our best, and our all. How do we become acceptable to God? First, if we want to be used and acceptable to God we must be willing to live holy lives. Secondly, we must follow what God said to Cain in order to become acceptable: Do well and you will be accepted. If we will set ourselves apart to God and obey his word, which was Cain’s downfall, He will most certainly be willing to use us.
- Do you strive to live a life that is acceptable to God, or are you satisfied with living your own way?
- Ask God to help you to live a life that is acceptable and pleasing to Him.