I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:1-2 ESV)
As Paul prepares to get very practical in this letter, he clearly tells us how to worship. There is a pattern in the verb tenses in these verses that Paul has used several other times in this letter to the Romans. A single event is followed by continuous actions that should result from the event. In these verses the event is our presentation of ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. The resulting continuous actions are not being conformed, being transformed, and testing.
The core of worshiping God is making the decision to give myself completely to Him. In my mind this goes far beyond bowing down to God in prayer or singing praises to Him at a Sunday gathering. Instead I determine to give my entire life to God and live every moment of every day recognizing that He is in charge.
This will require a different way of thinking. Most of us live with the delusion that we are independent human beings who frequently honor God by performing some sort of religious activity. We think we are better than the people around us because we perform these religious activities. Our friends and neighbors who don’t worship God are convinced that they are in charge of their lives and have no need for any form of deity. The even worse situation is to believe that there is no God and that you have no control over your life. This is the attitude of the victim and it is impossible for a victim to worship because they are convinced they have no life to offer.
What does this transformation and testing process look like? Paul is writing about the way we think. We make decisions all the time. When we decide, we can use an infinite variety of criteria to determine our choice. Paul wants us to focus on two: what the world would do and what God would do. If we recognize God’s rule in our life, we will focus on what God would do. We will test every choice against whether our choice will honor God and reflect His character to the people around us.
This is why I see worship as an attitude that influences everything I do. If I have not given myself to God, then no type of religious or spiritual activity can be considered worship to God. If I have given myself completely to God, then every activity, even those not considered spiritual or religious, becomes an act of worship.
For my grandchildren:
Learn to think like God thinks.
Check out mygrandmatime for more Family Bible Activities on the book of Romans.