Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12 is a very familiar, dearly loved chapter for a number of reasons. Verses 6~8 form the foundation of the Motivational Gifts teaching of Don and Katie Fortune and others, and actually, every word of the chapter is underlined in my Bible. However, this verse expresses the bedrock of Christian living for every believer. We are prone to compartmentalize our lives, being one way at church, another way at work, and yet another way at home, but this verse destroys all such distinctions. If our bodies belong to God, then what we do with them is His business, 24/7/365. The kicker is that Paul says this is our spiritual/reasonable act of worship. Again, we tend to compartmentalize, and think of worship as something very different from, say, playing sports with friends. Paul begs to differ. Whether you prefer the “spiritual” translation or the “reasonable” translation, the point is that we can’t separate our bodies from genuine worship. Any attempt to do so is hypocrisy, but then, we’re quite good at that. We tend to think of faith and religion in extremely theoretical terms, but the Bible is the exact opposite of that. God is indeed transcendent, but the physical universe is His creation, and, as created beings ourselves, we cannot separate them. Our worship of our Creator cannot be separated from what we do with His creation, that is, our own selves, physical and otherwise. The discussions of conformity to the world, conceit, gifting, and love that follow in this chapter all depend on this fundamental posture of giving ourselves to God.
This of course applies to me, as it does to every human being. In a sense it encapsulates the entire Bible, because it summarizes how we are to relate to our Creator. I have quite a history of taking the gifts God has given me and doing what I wanted with them, rather than offering them to God in genuine worship. That’s hardly something to be proud of! I’m very grateful that God hasn’t abandoned me along the way, even though I probably would have done so had I been in His place. In His great mercy He has grown and taught me, just as this verse refers to, and I do better than I used to. However, I am very aware that I still have plenty of room to grow. I genuinely desire to worship Him in spirit and in truth, (John 4:24) and by His grace I am learning to do that. Perhaps the thing I am most looking forward to in heaven is the removal of all hindrances to worship, because that is the ultimate blessing and joy. In the meantime, I am to grow in every moment of my life being an expression of worship, because I belong to Him.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You indeed for Your patience with me, for continuing to draw me closer to Yourself. Keep opening my eyes and ears to You more and more, so that I may accurately reflect and transmit You to those around me, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!