And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:1-2, NLT).
The first element of training camp that I emphasized to our congregation as we prepare for the fall is the importance of worship. I offered this simple definition: “Worship is my appropriate response to the self disclosure of God.” Let me unpack that a bit.
Worship begins with God, who reveals himself to his people. One clear example is found in Isaiah 6, where Isaiah, having seen the exalted, thrice holy God, sees himself as “undone” by his sin. God disclosed himself as holy, and Isaiah’s appropriate response was confession of sin.
Romans chapters 1-11 reveal God as the God of grace and mercy. In those chapters, Paul has reminded his audience that though they are sinners, God through Christ has extended grace and mercy to them. So his request in chapter 12 is based on the God who has revealed himself through the currency of mercy and grace. His plea for them to worship by presenting their bodies is not baseless or unfounded. The presentation of their bodies as willing offerings is their appropriate response to mercy and grace.
As I have mentioned, worship is our appropriate response to the self disclosure of God. How has God revealed himself to you? How is he presently revealing himself to you? Worship begins with God and involves more than our liturgy. It involves our attentiveness to him and his initiative. As we see him “high and lifted up,” our response becomes our act of worship.
Tomorrow I’ll continue with the second observation from Romans 12:1-2. Thanks for checking in today.