This week I’ve been posting about worship from Romans 12:1-2. The third observation I want to make is that worship involves your total being. In the text, worship involves the presentation of our bodies and the transformation of our minds. Simply stated, worship involves both our thinking and our behaving. Allow me to unpack this a bit.
First, we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Paul intentionally uses Old Testament sacrificial language here to cause the reader to make the connection between the testaments. He wants them to reflect on the Old Testament system, yet at the same time desires to redefine sacrifice to make it fitting to the new covenant. There are no more bulls and rams. The sacrifice is now the sacrifice of self–our bodies, our minds, even our very lives.
The Old sacrifices were dead, the New are to be living.
The Old sacrifices were unwilling participants, the New are to be willing participants; yielded and surrendered.
The Old sacrifices had no thoughtful participation, the New are to exercise reason and thought.
The Old sacrifices were offered on behalf of others, the New are the offering of self.
No worship can be pleasing that is purely inward, abstract, and mystical. It must express itself in concrete acts of service.
Second, we are to experience transformation as God renews our minds. Our thinking processes are changed. We begin to think as God thinks with a view of putting it into practice. This world and God’s will are placed in contrast with one another. Paul challenges us to not be conformed to the world. The word here is schema, from which we get our word schematic. Paul points out that the world is constantly trying to force us into its schematic, trying to fit us into its system. Do you ever sense that? But rather than conform, we are to be transformed, experiencing the metamorphosis that God enacts in us and through us. This transformation allows us to live in the world without being of the world.
Worship, in short, involves you total being. Which makes perfect sense because that is all God has wanted all along. He wants you.