- Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
As we continue to look at the freedom found in worship we see the call to:
- Offer yourself on God’s altar
The word “offer” was a term that described the bringing and presenting of an animal for sacrifice on an altar. In the Old Testament a live animal was brought to the priest and the owner would lay hands on the beast to symbolically say, “This animal takes my place.” Once given it could not be taken back because the animal was killed and the blood was sprinkled upon the altar. It means “to present once and for all” by placing oneself at the disposal of another, at its core is the idea of relinquishing one’s grip and giving up control. It harkens back to the first mention of the word “worship” in the Bible as Abraham and his son Isaac made their way to the mountain to make the ultimate sacrifice. When Abraham said to his servants in Genesis 22:5: “We will worship and then we will come back to you.” Right from the very beginning, worship is connected with obedience to God through the offering of a life to Him. Being accustomed to offering dead sacrifices this idea of a “living sacrifice” would have been a radical idea to the Jews of that day. Paul is calling us to commitment to be all in for Jesus, today we want to compartmentalize our life with the Lord but once the sacrifice is offered to God, you don’t take it back. This is not doing business with God by bartering with Him, we are called to present our “bodies” to the Lord, we are exhorted to offer our total being to Him, not just bits and pieces. 1 Corinthians 6:20 says: “You were bought at a price, therefore honor God with your body.” Romans 6:13 tells us to offer every part of our bodies to Him as instruments of righteousness. God doesn’t just want to be a “part” of our lives when it’s convenient, He wants complete commitment. God’s not looking for the sacrifice of beasts but the bodies of believers who will be sold out to Him.
- Purposeful and pleasing praise
Paul continues by saying that our life offering is to be “holy and pleasing to God.” The question of worship is not, “how did I like it and did it please me?” But “Is my worship pleasing to God?” So much of our worship is self-pleasing vs Savior pleasing. Worship must focus on the work and the wonder of God, it’s about the Master not me. We are called to make a decisive dedication of our bodies which is not just a duty but a delight. This is a holy offering and the sacrifices that were presented to God in the Old Testament were to be spotless and pure. Anything less was an insult to God because holy means to be set apart for Him. Worship is a verb and so adoration must lead to action, today who are you living to please?
- Living worship as a way of life.
This then is our “spiritual act of worship.” This phrase means our “service of worship” and would have been familiar to those who understood the Old Testament sacrificial system. Their “service” was any ministry that the priests and Levites did in the temple unto the Lord. Today as believer-priests, when we offer our bodies we are involved in the sacred service of worship as a way of life. What Scripture teaches us is that our lives are meant to be continually revolving around our relationship with Jesus Christ, it’s about a lifestyle of worship. Everything we do is accompanied with the intent not just to please God but to proclaim Him. No matter where we are or wherever we go, if we are living a life presented to God, then we are always looking to bring Jesus into every situation we encounter. When we wake at the beginning of each day we start by seeking to include God, to bring his presence into that moment. At work we live to intentionally bring God’s presence into the lives of those around us. In our families, relationships, our personal lives, our church, the social settings, in all things at all times, we bring God’s presence and touch. We must be at “work” worshipping while we walk with Christ. We talk about a worship Service but worship is not just what we do once a week. True worship is the presenting of our bodies as living sacrifices to God, rather than a worship service we should have service worship. Since God’s desire is to make us into the image of His Servant Son it only makes sense for us to serve like He served. Pick up the towel, look for needs, serve in secret, give without the goal of getting. This is everywhere worship, worship as a living faith instead of as a formula. Unfortunately for many today instead of seeking to continually and constantly develop spiritual lives that are overflowing with sincere awe and admiration of God, the Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, instead of discovering the depth of a real relationship with the Redeemer and living in light of His love, Instead of hearing the cry of all creation, proclaiming the greatness of our God and joining in as part of that creation to proclaim the majesty and beauty of the One Who is Worthy, we have settled for a formula, putting together a recipe of righteousness. We have devised a way to break down the spiritual, supernatural act of faith that is worship into a schematic. What we need isn’t a formula for faith but a sincere song of worship, a lifestyle of love for our Savior. So today will you submit to the supremacy of Christ and surrender your life which is your spiritual act of worship?