Worship is the praise, the devotion, and the reverence we give to that which is the center, the most important thing of our lives. Worship is the response of who we are, heart, mind, bodies, words, and actions. Worship is the response of the whole self. Who or what we worship affects the way we live life.
The apostle Paul (Romans 12:1-2) and the apostle Peter (1 Peter 2:4-12) teach us worship sets the agenda for how we deal with all the situations and relationships of life. The issues of life are issues of worship, issues of pleasing and praising God. Paul’s words in Colossians 3:17 present this principle. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
It is Sunday as I write this post. This morning I gathered with other Christians. We came together as God’s temple to offer him sacrifices of worship. We sang praises to God. Thanksgiving was expressed in prayer. Partaking of the Lord’s Supper we rejoiced in God’s mercy and life-giving grace in Jesus Christ. Given my understanding of Paul and Peter’s teaching, I ask if our worship this morning was the expression of the lives we lived this past week? Consider the following fictitious scenarios based on real life experience. I will place you in each scenario.
This past Monday morning you were about to respond to a person with whom you work. He made a mistake and managed to convince your supervisor it was your mistake. The immediate issue appears to be his actions and your feelings. The deeper issue is whether your actions, words, thoughts, and attitude, will be pleasing to God? Will your response to your coworker be an expression of your worship of God? Will your behavior rise to God as a sweet smelling sacrifice, a pleasing and acceptable expression of praise and thanksgiving to God?
Tuesday evening your husband asked you to do something for him. As you prepared to respond to him, after your own hard day of work, the immediate issue appeared to be his needs and feelings, and your own. Is he asking too much of you? The deeper issue is whether your response will rise to God as a sweet smelling sacrifice, a pleasing and acceptable expression of praise and thanksgiving to God.
Thursday your children come home from school. Suddenly your quiet and peaceful home is in an uproar. You are about to react. The immediate issue appears to be your peaceful time of rest and getting your second breath being disturbed by unruly children and your need to get things under control. The deeper issue is whether your reaction will rise to God as a sweet smelling sacrifice, a pleasing and acceptable expression of praise and thanksgiving to God.
Saturday you found yourself in a morally tempting situation. Satan is putting the opportunity in front of you to give in to a moral weakness in your life. Your desires want fulfillment. The immediate issue appears to be fulfilling your desires. The deeper issue is whether your actions will express the praise and thanks to God you will be offering the following Sunday morning. Will your response to the temptation rise to God as a sweet smelling sacrifice, a pleasing and acceptable expression of praise and thanksgiving to God?
The corporate worship of God’s people can be correct in every detail of form as taught in Scripture, and at the same time be irritating noise to the ears of God. Through the prophet Amos, God rebuked Israel. I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies…. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:21-24; see also Isaiah 1:10-23) The worship of God, the reverence, praise, and glory we give to God on Sunday is only as pleasing and acceptable to God as the lives we live. The beauty, joy, meaning, and depth of the worship of God’s people is only as good as the life that supports it, the life that expresses it. The worship God’s people offer up to God on Sunday is to be the expression of their lives. Our worship together is to flow from lives of submission and service to God, flowing from bodies daily offered as living sacrifices to God.
The lives of God’s people are to be the expression of their worship, flowing from the praise, the glory, and the reverence, they give to God. Their lives are the expression of their worship of God, of who he is and of his mercies in Jesus Christ.
So it is the God we worship who sets the agenda for how we deal with all the situations and relationships of life. The agenda is to deal with every situation and every relationship in ways holy and pleasing to God. The agenda is to deal with every situation and every relationship in ways expressing our devotion, praise, and thanksgiving to God. The agenda is to worship God in all we do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17).