In my sermon this past Sunday I closed with three words: Listen, Worship, Live. This week I will be taking time to write an individual post for each one of these disciplines to help you apply the Bible to your life.
Listen… Worship… Live (Part 1)
We often associate “worship” with a particular music style. This has caused the church to shrink the magnitude of worship. By this definition, worship is something we do once a week when we gather with other Christians to sing a few songs. Singing IS a form of worship but it is only a tiny part of true worship.
One of the greatest theologians of the church, the Apostle Paul, described worship this way in 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.
1. Worship is our response to God’s mercy.
Paul is urging the believers in Rome to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice IN VIEW of God’s mercy. Worship is how we respond to God’s initiative in our lives. In my previous blog post, I challenged you to set aside time to intentionally listen to God. Listening is required for worship – for worship is a response to our listening.
One of the best ways to do this is by practicing “lectio divina.” This is an ancient practice that literally means “divine reading.” It is the process of slowly reading and praying through the Scriptures. It transforms Bible reading from being a quest for information to a journey towards transformation. It allows Scripture reading to become a dialogue rather than a monologue.
You practice lectio divina by allowing the Scriptures to invite you into a conversation with God. You pray the prayers you find in the Bible, you thank God for his promises, and you meditate on His acts of faithfulness in your life.
2. Worship involves the totality of who you are.
Paul defines “true and proper worship” as offering our “bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.” Worship is both a physical and a spiritual act. I have personally found it helpful to kneel on the ground when approaching God in prayer. This is an act of my body that helps my spirit remember that God is the Sovereign One of the universe. In comparison to God, I am but a mist that is here today and gone tomorrow. God is from everlasting to everlasting.
True worship engages our intellect and emotions… our minds and our hearts… our bodies and our spirits. Our theology (study of God) should always lead to doxology (the worship of God). Ultimately, worship is our response to God’s act of sending the Lord Jesus Christ to live a perfect life, die an atoning death, and resurrect from the grave for the redemption of the world.
So what does this actually mean? What does it look like for each of us to live a life of worship?
First, it begins by listening to what God is saying. This is done by spending daily time in Scripture reading, silence, and solitude. After reading the Scriptures, spend a few minutes thanking God for what He has spoken to you. A helpful way to do this is by writing out a prayer of response. This can be extremely beneficial because your writings will provide you with a monument of your time with God. These prayers are moments with God that you can return to regularly to be reminded of His faithfulness.
All of life is worship. Your work, your family, your “free time” – all of it belongs to God. Is Jesus the Center and Sustainer of all that you do? Or are you ascribing worship to yourself rather than God?