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A girl in the Philippines and her youth group were going through my book, Pure Praise. On her blog site she wrote, “I’ve always heard of ‘lifestyle worship’, but I didn’t know what it was. Until I went through this study, I always thought lifestyle worship meant we were supposed to sing and raise our hands everywhere we go everyday, like we do in church.” Many Christ-followers still have the narrow idea that worship is mostly singing and giving outward expressions of praise. However, living a life of worship means much more than that.
To help answer the question of what lifestyle worship is, we need to start with Romans 12:1. The King James Version says, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Paul said it is a reasonable service for us to lay down our lives. It’s reasonable because God isn’t asking something of us He hasn’t been willing to do Himself. He laid down His physical body on the cross. [perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]He died for us, and for that unfathomable reason, we should be willing to live our lives for him.[/perfectpullquote]
Rather than the words, “reasonable service,” in Romans 12, the English Standard Version translates it as “spiritual worship.” Why is presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice considered to be worship? What does worship have to do with it?
In the Old Testament, priests would offer animal sacrifices on an altar to express their devotion to God. That was a huge part of their ceremonial worship. Similarly, when we lay our lives down as a sacrifice to the Lord, that is a powerful expression of worship.
Notice it’s called “spiritual” worship. I think that’s because Paul wasn’t referring to laying our lives down physically. God needs us alive to serve Him on this earth; He needs us to be living sacrifices, not dead ones. (Unless, of course, He calls on us to be martyrs.) True, biblical, spiritual worship means surrendering our entire being to Him—body, soul and spirit.
Starts with the Heart
So, exactly how are we to offer our bodies as a sacrifice to God? How does that work, you may ask.
Everyday, we need to form a habit when we first get up of kneeling beside our bed, if we’re physically able, and saying, “Lord, I die to myself today. I lay myself out on Your altar. In my heart I surrender myself completely to You. Use me in any way You want today.”
Then, although our bodies stand up and walk us out into our day, our heart remains on the altar, so to speak, yielded to God. Our heart and our mind should stay in a surrendered posture all day long. Remember, it’s our mind that controls our body and tells it where to go and what to do. Therefore, when we surrender our hearts and minds to the Lord, we are, in essence, offering our bodies to be used for His glory.
Affects All We Do
Lifestyle worship is a surrendered life, but it’s also “whole-life.” It should involve every part of our life. As we go through our day with a surrendered mindset and heart, then everything that we do during that day God sees as worship. Everything we do brings glory to Him because we’re doing them from a heart that loves and adores the Lord.
Think of it like this. We lay our body out on the altar when we say, “I die to myself.” That body is now dead to us. We relinquish control of it. You and I can’t really move unless God tells us to move. We give up the right to decide what our body does. His Spirit who lives in us is whom we obey. He controls what we do, where we go and what we say.
So, doesn’t it make sense, that anything we do while under His control will bring Him honor? Even things as common as eating and drinking, if done with thankful and loving hearts, can be acts of worship. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” In context, Paul was telling the Church at Corinth to be sure that when they eat and drink that they’re not being stumbling blocks to others. That would not glorify God.
Do everything for God’s glory, Paul said. Sharing our faith, praying with someone, hanging out with friends, laughing, going to the store with our family, studying hard for a test—all these are opportunities for us to honor God throughout our day.
And don’t ever forget that we are His children if we’ve trusted Jesus as our Savior. He loves us unconditionally. He made us to bring glory to Himself simply because of who we are. We belong to Him. Think about it. [perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We are created to be worshipers! What an incredible truth that is that we can rest in![/perfectpullquote]
Changes Who We Are
Spiritual worship involves our entire being—everything that we are and everything we do. Matthew Henry describes it like this: “There is a change of the whole person into the likeness of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. Thus, to be godly, is to give up ourselves to God.”
That’s it. That’s what lifestyle worship boils down to: Giving ourselves up to God every day.
Need more help navigating your next steps in worship ministry? Sign up for our ReIMAGINE Worship Intensive! It will change your life!