Re-examining My Worship

This is a re-post of a note I published September 1, 2014 on Facebook. I am transferring my notes from Facebook into my Float the River blog.

I was feeling sorry for myself yesterday and it really bothered me. Made me cranky in fact. I love singing in church. I love responding to God and His word by singing with other believers. Lately, I haven’t been able to do that the way I want. Without boring you with details, I currently have “issues” with my back that make it incredibly painful tosit in certain chairs or stand in one place for very long.

As such, for the last number of weeks my Sunday worship attendance has been relegated to sitting in the coffee area watching and listening to the service on the screen they have installed. I really felt cheated. I’m not going to sing in there (pride and caring about others…a mixture of immaturity and meeting others needs) and as a result I only get to observe the singing portion of church. Yesterday in particular it made me very sad but it also got me thinking about worship.

The concept of being a “living sacrifice” has been on my heart and mind lately so remembering that worship is directly connected to that, I immediately went to Romans 12:1.

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

I needed a reminder of what worship is and as I meditated on this verse some important points were brought back into focus.

Worship is about…

1) …the mercy of God — that any expression of worship would be acceptable only comes by God’s mercy

2) …a presentation to God — a willful laying of our lives on the altar to be spent and consumed by God and for God…as He wills and for His pleasure (cf. Philippians 2:13, 2nd Timothy 4:6-7)

3) …being a living sacrifice — the sacrificial life is an active one. It is fluid, growing, and demonstrates observable movement as opposed to a merely private expression (though at times it will be, but never exclusively so)

4) …is holy — that is, set apart to God, for God, and by God. It is a life continually moving towards Him and away from what displeases Him.

5) …the normative approach to God — not exceptional but normative; from Genesis onward sacrifice has always been a primary means of worship and as such worship is costly, humbling, and in many ways messy.

6) Sacrifice is still, and will always be, the means to worship.
*our lives (Romans 12:1) — my entire life is to be a response to God
*our presentation of the Gospel (Romans 15:16) — proclaiming the good news in Christ is not above and beyond the call of duty, it is what were saved for and is an act of worship (cf. 1st Peter 2:9)
*our praise of thanksgiving (Hebrews 13:15) — it is not merely singing the praise of God that defines my verbal expression of worship. It is thankful words and attitudes of praise that are to be the fruit of what comes out of my mouth. It is interesting to note that the painful and sorrowful expressions of the Psalmists are marked by thankfulness, humility, and hope in the sovereign goodness of God (cf. Psalm 13).
*our giving to others (Hebrews 13:16) — blessing others with what God has blessed us with.

Each of those verses are vividly marked by words of sacrifice.

7) It is spiritual — I must recognize the sacrifices I bring to and offer to God are spiritual in nature. Though what I do is in a physical context (it is actively and willfully accomplished by me and cannot be done on my behalf by another) I am only able to respond in worship because of the spiritual work of God on my behalf and in my heart. It is only because He initiated my spiritual re-birth, my reconciliation with Him, and my forgiveness of sins through the work of His Son on the cross that I am able to worship.

God, please forgive me for allowing my desires to cloud what it means to truly worship you. While the corporate expression of faith and praise in music is an important part of offering myself to you, may you always remind me that there is so much more than that…and to never be content with only that.

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