“God is Spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John (emphasis mine)
“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.” Romans 12:1
Worship is more than a set list played and sung on Sundays and midweek services. It's not just goose bumps and tingly feelings. It can be downright painful.
When I offer myself as a living sacrifice (which God already considers holy and pleasing) I remove myself from center stage – ouch. No longer is it MY way, MY plans, MY bright ideas, MY purposes. You get the drift. These become inconsequential when I surrender my will to my Lord. In this process He has freedom to scrutinize the motives and intents of my heart, which may or may not be so pure. Anything He finds offensive or defective has to go. As a living sacrifice I step down from the throne of my life and let Him be Lord. That's worship.
This doesn't sound or feel as warm and fuzzy as eyes closed, hands raised and swaying to the music which is also worship. As good as that is, there's so much more. Regardless of our preferences, it's important to do things God's way.
The purpose of a living sacrifice is not a avenue to get sins forgiven; that was accomplished at the cross. It's an accountability issue. We all goof up at times. Quick to excuse and justify behaviors in ourselves, we judge others more harshly for the same things. At times we do the right things for the wrong reasons unaware of what's really driving us. When Jesus examines our life He'll point out the good, the bad and the downright ugly. If we listen, He'll show us how to avoid those pitfalls in the future reducing the bonfire of our wood, hay and stubble.
Facing the truth can hurt. We aren't by nature good people; that got corrupted at the Fall. We're self-centered, opportunistic, greedy and so forth. Just watch kids at play. No one taught them how to look out for Number One, it came naturally.
When we enter into a relationship with God all this can change – if we let it. He's eager to help us discover and discard old coping and defense mechanisms for Kingdom principles that work right now. As we permit Jesus to daily check us out and surrender to His leading, He'll mold us into His image and likeness.
How about you? How does Romans 12:1 change your concepts of worship? Try laying your life down as a sacrifice. Ask Him to set your agenda, direct your steps and keep a close watch on the motives behind your actions. You may learn some things that are hard to accept but you'll enjoy the beauty and benefits of true devotion.