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. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
DEVOTION – APRIL 21, 2019
A few years ago while still in college, I was attending my church home (in Tennessee at the time) and my pastor gave a message on the act of surrendering to God. He asked the congregation to simply put down whatever we were holding, uncross our arms, and to hold out our palms in front of us. It was a simple external act that directly correlated to an internal posture of worship and it changed my entire perspective.
Lately, I’ve been marinating on Romans 12:1-2. As a worship leader, it’s a verse I am well acquainted with as it touches on our “true and proper worship.” My favorite part of the verse has nothing to do with music. Often we limit the word worship to the 25-minute block of singing that we do on Sunday mornings.
Don’t get me wrong–music is truly one of the greatest gifts from God, and it is made available to us as an avenue to praise him, encounter him, and invest in our father-child relationship with him. In the Scriptures, music is used over and over again as a method to worship God. In Exodus, we read how the Israelites successfully flee from the Egyptians. Then, Moses and the people of Israel respond by singing a song to the Lord, extolling praise and boasting about all God had done.
In 2 Chronicles, Jehoshaphat appoints men in his army to lead the frontlines with songs of praise as a way to declare that the battle is not theirs, but God’s. In the Psalms, we read songs of lament, grief, thanksgiving, and praise. We see over and over again how God uses music to express emotion, love, thankfulness, and surrender to a God who is ultimately in control of any battle we may face in life.
However, as we see in Romans 12, our worship–prescribed by God in the Bible–is much more than music alone and requires much more from us. It’s our daily surrender to him and is not to be confined to a couple hours a week or when it’s most convenient for us.
The outcome of what was done on the cross through Jesus resulted in each of us being covered by grace and eternal love that surpasses our human understanding. In response to that gift, we are told that our spiritual worship is to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice by perpetually conducting ourselves in that spiritual posture, attitude, and perspective.
As a church in its 60th year, what would it look like if we choose to let go of our pride, our shame, our guilt, our plans, our fear, our temptations, our selfishness, and our past failures? What if, instead, we choose to live in that constant renewal of our minds and trusting in the Lord and his perfect plan?
It takes a little vulnerability, trust, humility, and surrender, but in the same way my pastor challenged me in that illustration, let’s commit to setting down whatever it is we shouldn’t be holding onto, uncross our arms, and stop letting our insecurity and control issues get in the way. Let’s open up our hands to surrender those things to a loving Father and to let him work in us and through us.
That is our true and proper worship.
Father, teach us how to worship you. Teach us how to better invest in our relationship with you each and every day. Give us a spiritual posture of humility and surrender, acknowledging that we are not in control. You are bigger than our thoughts, our fears, our sin, and our pride, and you alone deserve all of our attention and affection. Keep me from conforming to all the world offers me. Instead, help me to live in constant renewal of my mind. We ascribe to you the glory that is due to your name and yours alone. Amen.
Crossings Edmond Worship Pastor
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