When most Christians think of worship, they think of one thing: music. We think of that 20 or 30 minute window of time where there is music at the beginning of our church service. And that’s fine, because singing songs is one of the most popular ways to express worship in the Bible.
But worship actually goes deeper than our singing. Worship is a matter of the heart.
In Romans 12, the Apostle Paul sheds some light on this. He writes, “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.”
Here, Paul explains that the “spiritual worship” we offer to God, is a devoted life and a renewed mind. Our bodies, we are told, should be presented to God “as a living sacrifice.” That is to say, our bodies, yes our very lives, are to be devoted to God and in His service. Your hands that once carried out sin, now carry out service for God. Your mouth that once spoke filthily and tore people down, now builds people up and honors God. Your feet that used to carry you down the wrong path, now leads you on the right path. Your life that used to be lived to carry out your plans, now is used to carry out God’s plans.
Essentially, worship is a heart that is surrendered before the Lord, a heart that seeks to do God’s will and not it’s own, a heart that says to God “Anything, Anytime, Anywhere.”
Paul captures the thought well in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 where he writes, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
With this devoted life, comes a renewed mind. You can’t have one without the other. The only way to know God’s will, so you can live for His glory and pleasure, is through His word. God’s word is the tool that He has given us to renew our minds. When we soak it up, when we meditate on it often, we are getting God’s perspective on things. By getting into God’s word we will be able to see God as He truly is, ourselves as we truly are, and others as they truly are. The question before each one of us everyday is this: will I allow my mind to be shaped by the world or the word?
One final thought: notice that the entire appeal to this devoted life and renewed mind is on the basis of “the mercies of God.” The reason that we should offer our hearts and lives to God is because of all that He’s done for us. When we think of the grace, love and mercy that He’s shown us by sending His Son Jesus to die for our sins, our response is a devoted life. Jesus provides for us forgiveness of sins, peace with God, the hope of heaven when we die, and the ability to fight and overcome sin. What an amazing gift!
How else could we respond than with a life of worship?