“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.”
Romans 12v1, English Standard Version
Last weekend I was able to spend some time in East Anglia; Bury St. Edmunds and Norwich to be precise. On the Sunday, I went along to Westgate Chapel
with my grandparents and mum. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a mystery shopper style review. Instead, I want to share something of what I learnt during the sermon on Romans 12v1 and the right way to worship.
|Today, we are able to engage in countless forms of worship.
The reality is that worship can be a ‘Sunday service’ thing, where we only do it
in church. It was refreshing to hear a speaker accept this possibility as a reality. This wasn’t the difficult bit to deal with. In fact, it was pretty easy to absorb.
That’s where it stopped. Because the reality is that as long as we leave the ‘Sunday service’ worship life, we are confining God to just one bit of our life. As we were told on Sunday, we are all spiritual peasants splitting up our lives into allotments. True worship is allowing God into all of those allotments, no matter how difficult it could be or cheesy it sounds.
Why allow God into every aspect of our lives? Surely life would be simpler if He stayed in His one little corner and came out on a Sunday? After all, we’ve acknowledged that such a life is a possibility. Yet living such a life is the life of one who hasn’t quite realised what Jesus did. He died for YOU and Me. My normal tablet and phone lock screen reads ‘I fell in love with the man who died for me’ but even that does not quite cover what the cross means.
The mercy that is shown in the cross is the key. When we begin to gain a true understanding of God’s mercy shown through Jesus Christ- an understanding that goes beyond lock screens- can we begin to move towards the right way to worship
. For it is in that moment of death that God showed the real and true extent of His love for you. The Resurrection showed God’s power over death but it is through the love and mercy of death on the Cross that we are led to worship.
So what is it that Paul means by ‘a living sacrifice’? The love and mercy that I barely understand but God showers me with is incomparable to anything I can offer. Yet His love is so all consuming that I want to do all I can to show Him what this means. While I do fail to so this regularly, it does not stop me trying to do all I can out of the love I have witnessed. To those who have not understood the Cross, this often looks like blind obedience as I struggle to carry the burdens of biblical rules. To those who share something of God’s mercy, the obedience you see is born out of love and joy at the reality of the Cross.
How do I make this understandable? The most well-known Christian “rule” is “Don’t drink” or “Don’t get drunk”. While I was at university, it was a “rule” I struggled with and nowadays at house parties it is a “rule” that I repeatedly break. To me, this has never been a “rule”. As a student I did not drink to get drunk because I wanted to stand out as a follower of Christ. Nowadays, if I do drink too much it does tend to be those times when my relationship with Christ is not my priority. It is only by prioritising Christ in my life that I am able to understand even a small bit of God’s mercy and the right way to worship.
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