by Jeff Willis

“I urge you therefore, 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 that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

This passage from Romans 12 contains all the elements of true worship. Let’s look at these elements this week and next.


First, there is the why, the motivation to worship: “the mercies of God.”

God’s mercies are everything He has given us that we don’t deserve: eternal love, eternal grace, the Holy Spirit, everlasting peace, eternal joy, saving faith, comfort, strength, wisdom, hope, patience, kindness, honor, glory, righteousness, security, eternal life, forgiveness, reconciliation, justification, sanctification, freedom, intercession and much more. The knowledge and understanding of these incredible gifts motivate us to give all praise and thanksgiving – in other words, worship!


Also in the passage is a description of the how, the manner of our worship: “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.”

Presenting our bodies means giving to God all of ourselves. The reference to our bodies here means all of our humanness—our hearts, minds, hands, thoughts, attitudes, etc.– are to be presented to God. We must give up control of these things and turn them over to Him, just as a literal sacrifice was given totally to God on the altar.

But how? …“by the renewing of your mind.” We renew our minds daily by cleansing them of the world’s “wisdom” and replacing it with true wisdom that comes from God.

True worship is God-centered worship. Like the woman at the well in John 4, we can get caught up with where we should worship, what music we should sing in worship, and how our worship looks to other people. Focusing on these things misses the point. Jesus tells the woman and us that “true worshipers” worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). This means we worship from the heart! Worship can include praying, reading God’s Word, singing, participating in communion, and serving others. It is not limited to one act, but when the heart and attitude of the person are in the right place with regards to their relationship with the Father, God is honored, glorified and pleased.

Worship is not an event. It is a lifestyle!

Father, help us to go deeper in our everyday walk with You and that our worship is just a natural overflow and outpouring of Who You are in us and through us.