How Might We Use Our Bodies in Worship? Part 2
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.
In yesterday's reflection, I noted that the Bible calls us to worship God, not just with our inner selves, but with our whole selves, including our bodies. This takes many specific forms in Scripture, including: standing, shouting, kneeling, singing, and lifting hands. But the biblical vision of the body in worship is actually much broader. It includes, potentially, about as many gestures and postures and actions as you can imagine. Let me explain what I mean.
Romans 12:1 calls us to give our bodies to God in response to all he has done for us. In particular, we offer our bodies to the one who offered himself in the body of Jesus on the cross. Our worship is always a response to God and what God has done for us.
We are to give our bodies, according to this passage, as "a living and holy sacrifice." The people of Israel were required to offer various sacrifices of God, including produce and animals. Romans 12 uses sacrificial imagery to explain how we are to offer, not literal sacrifices, but rather ourselves as living sacrifices. We are not killed on the altar. Rather, we live for God and his purposes each moment of each day. In our living we give ourselves to God. In our living we worship God.
Notice that worship is not simply the sort of thing we do when gathered with other believers in church. It's far more than what we might do in our personal devotions. True worship, according to Romans 12:1, involves giving our whole selves to God each day. The actions of our bodies become the means of worship as we live in the world for God's glory.
What does this mean in practice?
It means you can worship God as you teach your class in school or as you stock a shelf or as you take a deposition or as you negotiate a contract or as you serve a customer, or as you promote a candidate or as you hug your children or as you build a house for homeless people or as you lead a Bible study in your office or...When you seek to worship God with your body as a living sacrifice, everything you do can become an act of worship.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you see your life as one unending service of worship to God? Why or why not? How might it change your perspective on your life if you were to see it in light of Romans 12:1?
PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for the high calling you have given me, for the opportunity to serve you with my body in all that I do.
Forgive me, Lord, for how easily I tend to think of serving you in some areas, but not in others. Forgive me for cutting up my life into the spiritual parts and the unspiritual, and then thinking I should worship you only in the spiritual stuff. Help me to see my whole life as an opportunity to worship you.
All praise, glory, and honor be to you, gracious and holy God. Amen.
Images sourced via Creative Commons.