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. (Romans 12:1-2 )
Every aspect of our lives is part of our worship. We worship from the moment our eyes open in the morning to the second they close at night. Worship is magnifying (or making much of) someone or something by our actions, thoughts or words. It is setting anything, be it God or otherwise, into the place of high prominence and authority in our lives. However, this understanding of worship is slipping from Christian belief and practice. Worship today is generally thought of as a genre of music or a thirty minute period in which we sing songs to God. Though the latter is a crucial component of worship (Ephesians 5:15-21), it does not encompass it.
In fact, we learn from today’s passage that discerning God’s will from a transformed and renewed mind, and then acting in accordance with that will, is pivotal to our proper worship. We are called to be men, and women, and children who become like Jesus; not a people who try to make Jesus fit our desired mold for Him. Improper conformity (or religiosity) is worshipping the “gods” of culture, while true Christianity is worshipping the One True God in culture. When we hold a small view of worship we lose sight of “what is good and acceptable and perfect” because we lose the ability to truly know it! Only through the giving and submitting of our entire lives can we rightly worship God and fulfill our purpose and mission on this earth.
Remember, worship isn’t simply singing songs as Christians outside of the broader culture, but worshipping the One true God inside of it. Read Jesus’ prayer concerning our place in the world in John 17:15-19.