What does God want exactly?
“I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship.” Romans 12:1
The benefit of being raised in church is that we are offered a strong heritage of faith and, hopefully, the education needed to understand God, the bible, and what is expected of us. The negative side of being raised in church is we might take it for granted and assume we’ve experienced all there is to God. We may think additional education is not needed. We may believe we know everything there is to know and the church has nothing more to offer us.
Church people and Christ followers aren’t necessarily the same thing. I won’t get into why we should attend church or when it’s okay to skip church. That’s a senseless battle. If we have a good experience with church, we want to attend. If we have a bad experience with church – well, we all know the results of that one. I know…I know…. if people put their faith in people, they will be let down. There is no doubt we are called to worship God; not people. However, there is also no denying that church people can cause some of the greatest heartaches for God and for others.
I still choose to go to church. Truth be known, my husband makes me. <wink> Don’t fall off your chair laughing, please. For many years, under my husband’s spiritual leadership, I continued to go to church despite my worst hurts coming from within its walls. With time, I grew to understand that God deserves our worship regardless of how others behave or treat us.
What does worship mean? Do we have to be in a church building to worship? Is worship music? Is worship raising our hands or clapping along with a catchy tune? Can we sing hymns written one hundred years ago and still worship? Can we worship in a fishing boat on the lake? What exactly does God want from us anyway?
Romans 12:1 explains true worship beautifully. Please allow me to paraphrase. I strongly encourage you, fellow believers, with God’s mercy, present your bodies as a living sacrifice. Holy, acceptable to God. This is your reasonable service of worship. God’s mercy is required to keep us focused on true worship. His mercy covers our mistakes, but more than that – His mercy helps us forgive the mistakes imposed on us by others.
Worship is how we live, how we act, what we say, what we believe, and <clear throat> how we spend our money. It’s all worship. With God’s mercy (and help) our entire being should worship Him. Our life should be lived with Him. Right now, and in eternity. Our behavior should be above reproach. Our words, actions, and habits should be acceptable to God. When we put this into perspective and just do it, we’ve truly worshiped Him. If we began to see worship as an act of service, we might just stop arguing about when to do it, how to do it, where to do it and we might just start doing it with every ounce of energy within us.
That, my friends, is what differentiates church people from Christ’s people.