Life as Worship
- Understand how corporate worship renews us for living lives that are holy and pleasing to God.
- Desire God to be at the center of all we do.
- Identify the differences between the way the world shapes us and the way God shapes us.
At the beginning of this Dive unit, we noted that worship is a way of entering into the kingdom of God. In worship we step out of our everyday lives to live for that hour in the realm of God's kingdom. That does not mean, however, that the hour of worship is somehow unrelated to the rest of our lives. Just as we are blessed to be a blessing, we worship God in order to worship him in and through our whole lives. If worship is God-centered, then life is God-centered. If worship is a dialogue with God, then life is an ongoing dialogue with God. If worship is hearing and responding to God's Word, then our whole lives are a response of thanksgiving to the gospel.
Paul expressed that idea wonderfully in Romans 12:1-2: "Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God---this is your true and proper worship." Sacrifice was the center of Old Testament worship, and New Testament worship centers on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Notice that Paul says we are to offer our bodies---not just our minds, or spiritual self. This tells us that he is talking about our everyday lives in the world.
Paul goes on to suggest ways in which we can offer ourselves to God in everyday worship: "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." This happens in a worship service, where we are transformed into a pattern of thinking and living for God's kingdom. Worship in the world means that we carry that transformation of kingdom thinking and living into our daily lives.
That means we continue our worship by thoughtfully and earnestly studying God's world. We also do good chemistry, make good meals, invest money wisely and well, engage in sports to the glory of God, and above all love God and our neighbor in all that we do, think, and say.
Sometimes I have heard people complain when heaven is described as one long, continuous worship service. However, at the end of the book of Revelation, when John describes the new heavens and the new earth, he says that there is no temple there (21:22). That means, in part, that there are no "worship services" at all in heaven, because in the end, all of life in the new earth is worship. It is lived in the presence of God and in joyful and perfect fellowship with each other. What could be better?
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