Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Discipline of Worship


What does this bring to mind for you? Do you see church building on a Sunday? Do you see people singing together or maybe do you "hear" music that lifts up God's name? Of course, these things are an aspect of worship, but you maybe be surprised (and/or challenged perhaps?) to consider that when God says worship, he isn't just talking about Sunday morning or singing all five verses of "Just As I Am".

When the word "worship" is used in scripture it is usually used in a context of a life of choices and actions. It is part of a life-style of God-driven decisions.

Consider when Joshua says to this Israelites, "choose this day whom you will serve" (Joshua 24:14) and note their response "We will worship the Lord our God and obey him."  (24:24, NLT). God's people people understood that a life of service was worship to God. To worship God meant that they had to chose whom they would serve.  Joshua challenged them that if they were to make such a bold statement that it mean giving up their idols and their way of rebellious living. Worship means service. To worship God means that you are living a life of service to him.

Look at Romans 12:1, "Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship." (NIV) The word for "worship" in english was originally "service" in Greek.  Offering our bodies as living sacrifices is an act of worship, a reflection of a life of service to God.

See how Paul follows up this challenge, this "spiritual act of worship" involves more than just singing on Sunday morning ..."Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (vs.2)

To imagine that how I think reflects whom I serve and worship, what a challenge!

When we are called to offer ourselves as living sacrifices as worship, we are being called to living a life that is fully committed to service to God. It considers how every aspect of our life reflects whom we serve, how every word shows who we worship. To consider that my life is the worship that I give to God gives a whole other sense of importance to me.

Emily Freeman, in her wonderful books Grace for the Good Girl shares these thoughts that bring me to tears every time I read them:
"We breathe in air and breathe out worship. We receive love and extend worship. We embrace children, offering worship. We comfort, we laugh, we mourn, we dance, we read, we dream, we exist - all worship. We pay bills, we run on the treadmill, we enjoy a good movie, we make dinner, we welcome friends with open arms - worship, all worship. We send money and offer prayer and sit with a lonely neighbor in Jesus' name. We wait for love, we long for home, we pour out our hearts and hope and fears and longings; we create with words and photos and colors and food, all beautiful acts of worship."

In what ways are you worshiping this day?

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