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
Let's start this week by focusing on the phrase “[D]o not be conformed to the world....”
First, do not be conformed to the world's understanding of emotions. Last week’s article included this statement: ‘We renew our minds daily by cleansing them of the world’s “wisdom” and replacing it with true wisdom that comes from God.’ We worship Him with our renewed and cleansed minds, not just with our emotions. Emotions are wonderful things, but unless they are shaped by a mind saturated in Truth, they can be destructive, out-of-control forces. Where the mind goes, the will follows, and so do the emotions. 1 Corinthians 2:16 tells us we have “the mind of Christ,” not the emotions of Christ.
Second, do not be conformed to the world's understanding of worship. The word worship means "to ascribe worth." Our world ascribes worth to all sorts of thing. But Jesus-followers are to be different. Worship is reserved only for God. Only He is worthy. Not even His servants are to be worshipped. (Revelation 19:10). This means we are not to worship saints, prophets, gifted pastors, statues, angels, or even Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Lastly, the world often engages in worship for what it gets from it. However, as Christians, we should not be worshiping for the expectation of something in return. Worship is done for God, because He deserves it. It is for His pleasure alone. Worship can be public praise to God in a congregational setting, but ultimately, true worship is from the heart and then is expressed through our actions, regardless of where we are or who is looking. "Worshiping" out of obligation is displeasing to God and is completely in vain. He can see through our hypocrisy, and He hates it. Just a few weeks ago, Pastor Erin spoke about an example of this very thing found in the story of Cain and Abel, the first sons of Adam and Eve. They both brought gift offerings to the Lord, but God was only pleased with Abel's. Cain brought the gift out of obligation; Abel brought his finest lambs from his flock. He brought out of faith and admiration for God.
In conclusion, worship is not confined to what we do in church or open praise (although these things are both good, and we are told in the Bible to do them). True worship is the acknowledgment of God and all His power and glory in everything we do. The highest form of praise and worship is obedience to Him and His Word. To do this, we must know God and not be ignorant of Him (Acts 17:23 – “the “Altar of an Unknown God”).
True worship is to glorify and exalt God—to show our loyalty and admiration to our Heavenly Father.
Isaiah 29:13 says, “And so the Lord says, ‘These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips. But their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.’” (NLT)
Lord, help us to live a life of worship in our everyday walk so that our actions, words, attitudes and all that we are and have bring you the glory and honor due Your name.
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