“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
This is one of my favorite scriptures. Being a late believer in our Savior, the part about “changing the way I think” has always resonated with me. Before becoming a believer, I was very much entangled in the culture around me and the world view that comes with it.
But when I encountered this verse, everything just clicked for me. I understood what worship really meant: a complete surrendering of my life to God’s will. Believe me when I tell you, it was quite a shock for me to learn that worship was not just showing up on Sunday and singing a few songs! My world was shaken when I realized it was much more than that. I mean, what else was I expected to do?
What I figured out was that the second verse was absolutely true. There was no way that I could be completely surrendered to Christ without a daily renewing of my mind and the way that I thought. Because, to be honest, that is not my natural inclination. My true self will always seek what I want first and then consider God later.
Over the past few years, I have worked really hard on this: allowing God to transform my heart through the way I think. And He has used a variety of ways to do it: prayer, Bible study, conversations with other believers. But some of my most transformative moments have come during times of service, times of actually doing God’s work and not simply reading or talking about it. When I have found myself in the midst of God’s children, doing what I am called to do, I have encountered Him in marvelous ways. For me, there is truly nothing like it.
That is why I am so thankful for Sunday. We have been talking all month about what good it will do for the community, the unchurched, and the disadvantaged. And all this is true. However, when I stop and think of what it will do for me, and my heart, then I am truly thankful for the opportunity to go and spend some time with Jesus face-to-face. One of my other favorite verses is “Come, and enter into the joy of your master.” I can’t wait for Sunday, and the joy that will come with it. I hope you will all consider joining me because it will be a truly magnificent opportunity for real worship.
My joy overflows in Your holy presence. My heart sings as I imagine Your smile. Thank You for this opportunity to commune with You through Your people. Prepare my heart to be changed and molded more into Your image. Renew my mind to think more like Yours. Teach me what it means to really worship You with my actions, and not just my words. For You are the Good Shepherd. Your mercy and grace flows over me like a mighty rushing river. Help me to be consumed by You.
In the name of Jesus Christ I pray,