Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. (Rom 12:1)
This is one of my favorite and one of my least favorite verses in the Bible. It is one of my favorite because it calls me to view the mercy of God in such a way that I can see my life as an act of worship. Least favorite in that it calls me to be a living sacrifice.
This verse has been on my heart as we have wrapped up our Don’t Forget the Lyrics series on worship. We have looked at several Psalms and the different forms of worship found in them. Through this series I have been challenged to consider the depths of what worship really is – what it looks like and sounds like.
God has challenged me with the idea that often our worship falls so short of what God deserves. But in some ways that is the whole point. Worship is the unworthy declaring the worth of the Worthy One to the Worthy One. I have been encouraged and challenged to really look at the idea and concept of worship during these days. I have also been willing to take a long look at my own life. I have done this in view of that fact that my act of worship is to give the living sacrifice of myself. Sacrifices are by definition deaths. Am I truly giving all of my life over to the cause of Christ to the point of a living sacrifice?
I have asked this question of the Lord…although I realize I will never be able to offer to you what you are truly worthy of, what in my life is preventing me from truly offering to you all that I can?
Through this question, the Lord has led me to several truths, some of which apply directly to my life, and some others that apply generally to all of our lives. I want to share with you those that are in the general category.
- You must speak the Gospel to those around you.
It is impossible to be a faithful follower of a Lord you refuse to speak the truth of to the world around you. This one issue is the number one issue for the majority of us when it comes to being a living sacrifice given completely over to the cause of Christ. I see the unwillingness in myself too often and in the church of today constantly. We must change this before our lives will ever declare the worth of the Worthy One.
- You must give God what is best in your life not what is left.
The biggest obstacle here is money. Do you give from abundance or obedience? The second one is time. Do you give what is convenient or what is commanded? The third issue is talent. Do you give what others see or what God sees?
- You must be honest with God. Worship is always honest. There is a difference between feelings and belief. Sometimes we will sing that which we do not feel yet we still believe. But when we stand before the Lord and sing in unison things such as “Here I am send me” but then we stop the song and live a life that refuses to be sent is it worship at all? Simply, don’t lie to God and call it worship or praise. Come with that which is authentic and honest. If that means standing in silence and praying for God to change your heart while others sing of their commitment then do just that. The Worthy One will feel much more honored by that than a lie.
- Public worship is a result of personal worship.
If we are going to gather in a corporate and public setting to worship, we must first be people who worship in private settings. A person will never find a level of comfort in expressing themselves to God personally in public until they are doing it personally in private.
- Worship has many forms and is always a privilege.
On the personal side of this issue…
- I have been challenged to see sharing of my faith as worshipful obedience instead of a burdensome requirement.
- Giving your best as worship can never be about how good your best is but must always be about who you gave your best to for it to be an act of worship.
- I have grown more in love with God through times of personal worship.
- There are many styles and formats of worship I have never grown to appreciate the experience of. I pray that I can and will learn to enjoy those more than I do now.