Worship as a living sacrifice – Part 3
The Message edition of Romans 12:1 is a good summary of what I call total lifestyle worship. It reads: “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you. Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering” (verse 1 MSG).
Our goal in life must be to live a life that is totally committed to God, everywhere and in every way. Many Christians tend to compartmentalise their lives. They live separate lives at home and at work. But a life that is totally sold out to God maintains the same lifestyle at all times. Here is a good summary of what I call total lifestyle worship:
Worship involves our entire relationship with God: our words, our attitudes, and our actions. Our words may be normal conversation, songs or prayers. In any style of speaking, we can declare God’s praises and express our faith in Him.
God wants worship not only on our lips, but also in our hearts. He wants our worship to be sincere — He wants to be the most important thing in our lives, that we are truly submissive to Him. He wants our worship to affect our behaviour, that we make sacrifices, which we put to death the deeds of selfishness, that we seek justice, be merciful and humble, and help others. He wants us not just to obey Him, but to also serve in ways that go beyond specific commands. We are to worship wherever we go, doing all things to God’s glory, praying always, giving thanks always, and never ceasing to be a temple of the Holy Spirit. Our worship involves how we work, how we drive, and what we choose to watch on television.
There are also actions that are specifically for times of worship. We might call these private devotions or spiritual disciplines. These are habits and actions of worship we do individually, as opposed to worship when we gather as a church.
Worship is not restricted to a specific place and time. The best thing that has ever happened to us is that we have God in our lives. We have reasons to celebrate all the time. When we live each day praising God in our hearts, it is natural that we praise God when we gather together, when we speak to one another about the best thing that’s ever happened to us. We worship all the time, but we also worship together at specific times at meetings designated for that specific purpose.
Three kinds of worship have been rightly identified thus: Worship that involves speaking, worship that involves listening, and worship that involves doing.There is a worship that expresses the heart, and worship that involves the mind, and a worship that involves the body. There is a worship that is giving praise upward, a worship that is receiving instructions from above, and a worship that carries out instruction in the world around us.
We need all three types of worship. Some people focus primarily on speaking or singing praise to God. Praise is good, but if all we do is praise God, without ever listening to what He says, we have to ask whether we believe the words we are saying. Similarly, all talk and no action does not show God the respect He deserves. Actions speak louder than words, and if our behaviour isn’t changed by God, then our actions are saying that God isn’t important — He’s a nice idea, but not relevant to our day-to-day lives.
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