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What is true worship?

In Romans 12:1-2, the apostle Paul perfectly expressed true worship: "I therefore encourage you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of devotion." And do not conform to this world, but be converted by the renewing of your mind, in order to demonstrate God's will, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleased and perfect."

This passage embodies every aspect of genuine worship. To begin, there is a reason for worship: "God's mercies." God's mercies encompass everything He has bestowed upon us that we do not deserve: eternal love, eternal grace, the Holy Spirit, everlasting peace, eternal joy, saving faith, comfort, strength, wisdom, hope, patience, kindness, honour, glory, righteousness, security, eternal life, forgiveness, reconciliation, justification, sanctification, freedom, and intercession. The knowledge and comprehension of these tremendous blessings inspires us to express our gratitude and praise—in other words, to worship!

Additionally, the text describes our worship style: "present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice." Presenting our bodies to God entails giving God our entire selves. All of our human capabilities, all of our humanness—our hearts, minds, hands, thoughts, and attitudes—are to be presented to God through our bodies. In other words, we are to relinquish control of these things to Him, just as a literal sacrifice was completely surrendered to God on the altar. However, how? Again, the passage is straightforward: "by renewing your thinking." Each day, we renew our thoughts by purifying them of worldly "knowledge" and replace it with true wisdom from God. Our worship is based on our refreshed and purified thoughts, not on our emotions. While emotions are good, they may become destructive, out-of-control energies unless they are moulded by a mind immersed with Truth. Wherever the intellect goes, the will follows, and the emotions follow as well. We have "the mentality of Christ," not the emotions of Christ, as First Corinthians 2:16 states.

There is only one method for renewing our brains, and that is through God's Word. It is the truth, the knowledge of God's Word, which is to say, the knowledge of God's mercies, that returns us to our starting point. True spiritual worship will naturally arise from knowing the truth, believing the truth, having convictions about the truth, and loving the truth. It is conviction that precedes affection, and affection is a response to truth, not to external stimuli, including music. Music in and of itself has no bearing on worship. Music cannot generate adoration, but it may surely generate emotion. While music is not the source of worship, it can serve as an expression of it. Do not look to music to elicit your worship; rather, view music as an expression of what is elicited by a heart rapt by God's mercies and obedient to His commands.


Spread God's Words

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