Acceptable Worship

Friday, October 13, 2017, 10:18 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I Will Lift My Eyes.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 12:1-2 (ESV).

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. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

A Living Sacrifice

Because of what Jesus Christ did for us in dying on a cross for our sins, and in being resurrected from death, so that we could go free from slavery to sin, free from eternal damnation, and so that we could have eternal life with him, we should give of our lives (our entire being) to him as a living sacrifice. Living means we are alive, and sacrifice is something we surrender, lose, give up, not hold on to. For, Jesus said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we save (hold on to) our lives, we will lose them (for eternity), but if we lose our lives (die with him to sin), for his sake, we will gain eternal life (See: Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Ro. 6:1-23; 8:1-17).

So, what should this look like, in all practicality? Well, first of all it means that Jesus is our Lord (owner-master), not in name or in title only, but as a living reality in our lives. He bought us back for God with his blood, shed on a cross for our sins, so our lives are no longer our own, but they are his, so we are to honor God with our lives. And, we are his bond-servants, who prefer what he prefers, and who obey him in his power. So, we don’t consider our lives to be our own, to do with what we want, but we regard them as belonging to Christ, and our desire is for him, to do his will, and to follow in his ways. Our salvation is not just about what Jesus does for us, but it is about living our lives for the praise of God, according to His will.

So, what should this look like when we get up in the morning, as we go throughout our day, and when the work day is done? If we have truly given our lives up for Jesus, to be lived for him, in his power, how would that look different from how we are living our lives now? Would we do all the same things? Have the same conversations? View the same material on TV, on the internet or in the movies? Spend our non-working hours in the same way? Live the same place? Read the same books? Or, have the same friends?

Our Spiritual Worship

What is worship? Someone told me the other day that all religions worship the same God, but can that be true? Or, can it be true that we can choose the way in which we worship God? Thus, one religion worships him this way, and another that way. But, is that possible?

Worship is defined here as giving up our lives to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing (acceptable) to him, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but transformed in the renewing of our minds (of the Spirit). So, what is acceptable, holy and pleasing to God?

Well, first of all we must believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, be crucified with him in death to sin, and be resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our God is Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit. If we don’t all surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, making him Lord of our lives, then we don’t all worship the same God. And, holy means we are separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin, because we are being made to be like Jesus. And, what is acceptable to God? That we should believe on his Son and that we should no longer walk (in lifestyle) according to our sinful flesh, but according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God, in the power of God.

In other words, true worship of God is not rituals or forms we go through, nor is it some emotional feeling we have about God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – but it is giving him the respect, honor, esteem, reverence, and obedience which he requires of us, and which he so rightly deserves. It is to believe what he says, and to do what he says, which means giving our lives to him as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to him. And, what is acceptable to him is that we love him with God-like love (agape love), which conducts our lives according to God’s will, obeys him, and loves others, too.

Transformed in Mind

We are to no longer be conformed (adapted, shaped) to the ways of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed in the renewing of our minds. So, this means our lives should be remarkably different from people who make no profession of Christ as Savior of their lives. We shouldn’t do the kinds of sinful things we did before Jesus Christ set us free, either (See: Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-17; Tit. 2:11-14). For, when Jesus died on a cross, he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. This should be reflected in our daily lives. Daily, by the Spirit, we should be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, not entertaining them and giving in to them.

We shouldn’t be gossiping, overeating, lying, cheating, stealing, mocking people who are different from us, committing adultery, viewing pornography, and watching sexually charged TV shows or movies, etc. We also shouldn’t be wasting hours on end playing video games, reading novels, watching sports, or otherwise entertaining ourselves incessantly. Our Lord did not put us on this earth so that we would be entertained all the time. He put us here to worship him, to give him glory by our lives, and to do his will. And, he put us here to spread his gospel throughout the world so that many others might come to know Jesus Christ, too.

So, to be transformed in the renewing of our minds means we don’t think or act the same way we used to, and we don’t take the same junk into our minds on daily basis, like we used to, either. Instead, we fill our minds with the things of God, from his Word, and from our times of worship of him, and from times spent with other believers in true Christian fellowship, and also in times of service to our Lord in doing what he says, and in being who he has created us to be. In this way, we will no longer think or act or believe the same as we did, nor will we have the same attitudes, morals, and values, but those will be ever changing to be conformed to the likeness of Christ.

I Will Lift My Eyes / An Original Work
December 12, 2012 / Based off Psalms 121-125

I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
He will not let your foot slip, and He who watches will not sleep.
Our Lord watches over you, and your life He will keep.
I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
I give thanks to Him.

I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
Because of His great love for us, He made us alive with Christ.
Through the kindness of our Savior, He gave us new life.
I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n;
My home, now in heav’n.

Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
Those who trust will ne’er be shaken. God will supply all we need.
Our Lord has done great things for us. He’s our friend, indeed!
Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
I can count on Him.

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