Today, dear sisters I come to you after an amazing time celebrating what Jesus did for us on the cross and through His resurrection. My heart is full of God’s goodness and the hope we have when we embrace all God has given us through His Word, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Romans 12:1-2 says “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. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
So, what does it mean to be a “living sacrifice”? We are called in Romans 12 to present our bodies…as living and holy sacrifices and the key to understanding what God is asking here comes in the next few words, “your spiritual service of worship”. Worship holds the answer and realizing what worship is and how we worship our Heavenly Father is at the heart of being the living sacrifice God is calling us to become.
Most Christians would say “worship” it is part of your Sunday church service, singing a few songs, praising God with others before the pastor brings his sermon. Maybe for you it is the entire service, traditionally one might say that worship is believers gathering at predetermined times and places. Formal, liturgical, and ritualistic. That sound easy enough…come this Sunday I will be a living sacrifice! Please understand attending church is vital for your growth as a believer and the scriptures confirm the importance of being part of a church for every believer. But we are discussing what it is to be a “living sacrifice”.
There is so much more and attending a church service is not even the tip of the iceberg we are exploring. When we worship God as He intended we are transformed into a “living sacrifice”. Like an iceberg what you see above the water line is not the depth or size, it is just the beginning.
Authentic worship is about embracing God’s Truth, allowing Him to transform us, and in that ongoing transformation we are changed, there is evidence.
This true worship we seek is placing our entire life “our bodies” on the altar as a sacrifice to God. This means God is part of our life every day, every hour, and every minute! We offer all that we are to Him, all that we do as an act of worship to our Most High King. Our Sundays become either a beginning or a finish of the week…worshipping God in our daily routine, workplace, marriage, parenting, every encounter is an opportunity of worship. This is the heart of authentic worship.
True worshippers gather together all of life and present it back to Him as a sacred and spiritual act of worship.
I have observed many Christians who profess to love God, attend church and then Monday through Saturday, even Sunday after church go about life excluding God in their activities and treatment of others. Unfortunately, they are missing out on the best part of a believers’ life which is the transformation that happens as we move from earthly beings to Kingdom beings. God wants us to walk through our earth bound days experiencing Him, sharing His love with everyone we encounter.
Ok, now you are thinking…how then, what must I do…I want this 24 hour authentic worship…in Romans 12:2 it says “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed”.
The word “conform” in Greek is suschematizo, meaning “to press into a mold.” I love this, God is warning us that we must be careful to not be restrained, limited or forced into the design of the world. Just thinking about how limiting this is and how the world contradicts itself. The world says there are no absolutes, no realities, except those that are verifiable and measurable by the world. Truth is a gray area loosely contained and if necessary changed to fit a situation or decision.
Never underestimate the pull of the world. Like the undertow of the ocean, this riptide will carry you away. This conforming to the world is not easily seen like the undertow, once caught you are drowning. Growing up in California and spending time at the beach, I have been witness to how the naïve, innocent beach goer finds himself in need of rescue.
Now that we clearly see the warning, let us look at the transformation process. The authentic worshipper stands apart from worldly thinking and puts each thought up against what God says through His Word, the ONLY TRUTH. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says we are to make our thoughts obedient to the Word of God. Consequently, our decisions and actions will also share in that process of obedience.
Jesus spoke of this “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth; for such people, the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” John 4:23
Authentic worship is transformational, life changing, the Greek word is metamorpho, meaning “to take on a different form.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 provides a deeper understanding of this change, ”Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
This transformation occurs as we continually renew our minds in God’s Truth. God’s Truth nourishes our spirit, strengthen our ability to resist the tug of the world. This “renewing of our minds” is so important here. God knows what you face daily, he sees and hears it all. God knows that the world and the devil will continue to beat you up…this fallen world is full of darkness and so that is why God says to “be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” Renewing is continually, like learning to ride a bike if you fall off, get right back up and try again. Renewing is a state of continually seeking God and growing in the knowledge of God. When we worship God as He intended we begin to change, as His child the broken relationship with God no longer exists, and we begin to see the world through His eyes. God reveals to us wrong attitudes and thinking. We are no longer slaves to the world but eagerly surrender to His ways. The change is not a make-over or cover-up, it is death to the old you and as scripture confirms you are reborn in Christ.
Authentic worship satisfies the Will of God and stands as a witness to the World. God’s will is achieved when we offer God a life that is separate from the world. It is a life that looks to God, our life is in harmony with God and His ways.
“so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
We operate in the Will of God when we say “No” to a behavior, way of thinking contrary to God. Each time we say “No” and recognize that it is through Jesus that we are able to resist and say “No”…a celebration occurs in heaven. God provides the strength needed to resist; He has given you a Helper the Holy Spirit. God loves you and it is His deepest desire is that you would make Him first and only in your life. When you fall in love with God, His Truth…there is Freedom.
Be encouraged, bring your authentic worship to God…a living sacrifice!
Blessings, Sister Laurie
Much of this writing comes from my class on Romans through Global University. A special thank you to Richard Dresselhaus for his amazing Sermon Notes on Romans.