Defining Worship

What is worship?

Romans 12:1 is the only place I know of in the NT that overtly defines worship. This is important because I think so many people have a fundamental misunderstanding about what worship is. Here’s the definition…

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

I paraphrase it this way: worship is responding to God’s goodness and grace by surrendering your entire life to Him.

Worship doesn’t begin and end. It isn’t an event. It isn’t something that happens a few times a week. Worship is a life fully surrendered to God. When you understand this, it fundamentally changes the way you view worship.

The question, “How should I treat my spouse,” becomes just as important as, “What kind of music best glorifies and honors God when we get together as a church on Sunday?”

The question, “How should I respond when people mistreat me,” becomes just as important as, “How often should we observe the Lord’s Supper as a church?”

The questions about music and communion aren’t unimportant. In fact, they’re extremely important. It’s not that an hour on Sunday morning is insignificant. But, my life, everything I else I do for the rest of the week, is just as significant as the event we call “worship” on Sunday morning.

I once had a professor who put it well. He said, “If you have a son that’s sixteen years old who starts a band with his friends and your theology says he can’t be playing music in your garage and worshipping at the same time, you need to get a new theology.” [Disclaimer: Please pardon the Church of Christness of this example]

It wasn’t a statement about the type of worship music he prefers (for the record, he prefers a cappella worship music). It was a statement about misunderstanding what worship is. Because according to the New Testament, everything is worship.

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