I hear people talk about true worship all the time.
We discuss offering different things to God. We talk about styles of music, or how loud someone sings. We talk about different things in our lives that need to change. Addictions we need to give up. Habits we need to change. People we need to love.
And, while all of these things might involve expressions of our worship to God, none of these things are the foundation of true worship.
Notice what Paul says in Romans 12:1,
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”
There are two things that show true worship.
First, our worship exists BECAUSE of what God has done for us. BECAUSE he gave his life for us. BECAUSE he loves us. BECAUSE he cares for us. BECAUSE he sacrificed for us.
Anything less than that is not worship.
If we worship God out of some requirement to fulfill a duty, we are not truly worshiping him. If we worship him because that is what’s expected, we are not truly worshiping him.
Worship BEGINS with Jesus, flows THROUGH us, then RETURNS to him.
If your worship does not begin with what Christ has done, then you are missing out on the foundation of worship. It starts with Jesus. We give ourselves to him in worship because he gave himself to us on the cross. Our worship is a response to his actions. Our worship flows from deep gratitude and love for he who gave his life for us. Our capacity to worship him is directly given to us by him.
Secondly, our worship is only real when we give ourselves to God, not our things to God.
We so often relate worship to a giving up of things to God in order to honor him.
“Yes Jesus, I’ll give up that pornography to honor you.”
“Yes Jesus, I’ll give up smoking to honor you.”
“Yes Jesus, I’ll give up my car/girlfriend/boyfriend/house/$10,000 to honor you.”
Paul makes it clear in the verse I quoted above: the only real worship is when we offer our very lives. During Old Testament times, the sacrifice that was offered to God was placed on the altar…a whole animal, or a full amount of a prescribed edible or aromatic substance.
Much like that, Paul is stating that we must place our very bodies…our very lives on the altar. We are not giving up things for God…we are placing our entire lives in his hands.
And, here is the most powerful thing: No matter what your issue has been…addictions, wrong attitudes such as greed or pride, wrong priorities, etc…when you place your life into the hands of God, he will set all of those things straight in your life.
They will come as a result of your worship, not as a requirement for your worship.
Let’s worship him today in the way that is true: fully giving ourselves to him BECAUSE he fully gave himself for us.
Enjoy your worship to God!