Uniquely You: Worshiping in Your Giftedness
“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
In considering Romans 12, Paul does not leave us in the dark as to how we are to present our bodies as a “spiritual service of worship.” In fact, he gets very specific in detailing the kinds of activities he is talking about. Believe it or not, it is much more extensive than what you generally experience in church on Sunday. Actually, there are people worshiping God right now — and they are not singing, praying, or listening to a sermon!
Commentators often see Romans 12:1-2 as a transition from doctrinal considerations to how this set of beliefs works in daily life (or “practical” application). This becomes glaringly apparent as quickly as verse three where Paul encourages “sound judgment” in our thought life about ourselves in comparison with others. “God,” he says, “has allotted to each a measure of faith.” And with that statement he sets the stage for us to comprehend the variety, unity, and complexity of worship within the Body of Christ (i.e., remember that the “body of Christ” is one of Paul’s primary pictures for the church, that is the community of believers. See also 1 Corinthians 12; Colossians 1:18).
Paul explains some of the basics of the proper functioning of the Body of Christ in Romans 12. There are many members (individual Christians, vs. 4) and yet only one body (the church, vs. 5). Each individual has been given a measure of faith (vs. 3) to serve others (vss. 5 and 6). The grace and faith given, however, is not in equal measure for some have more, some less, but just as much as is necessary for the individual (see vs. 6), and each member has a different function, or a different job to do (vs. 4). With these differing and numerous functions, or gifts, we serve one another, and the gifts Paul lists are set in the context of use within the community of believers, for he uses the phrase “one another” three times before the end of the chapter.
We are to present our bodies for service to the community of believers based upon our renewed and transformed minds. In so doing, we worship individually by exercising our spiritual gifts, and we worship corporately as the community works together to serve each other and the people around them. When a local representation of the Body of Christ functions in this way it is a marvelous thing, and it is extremely effective. Paul says, in Ephesians 4:16, that “the proper working of each individual part (i.e., the Christian serving in his or her giftedness), causes the growth of the body (i.e., the Church) for the building up of itself in love”.
An example of this interplay of individual worship based upon spiritual gifts and service to the Body of Christ would be my act of writing. Right now, as I work on this paragraph, I am by myself. I am singing no “Praise and Worship” songs, no hymns, and as far as I can tell there is no sermon being preached anywhere nearby. I am alone. I am here writing. So, given the limited ideas of worship that many people have, they would not describe me as being involved in “worship.”
In the more encompassing approach that I have described above, however, I am quite involved in worship. In fact, I consider the activity I am involved in at this moment to be one of my more significant acts of personal/individual worship. Why? How can I say that? Because in my worldview of worship I am applying the gifts God has given to serve the Body of Christ. He has allotted to me some creativity, an enjoyment of studying and teaching, and an ability to write down my thoughts effectively. So, as I use those gifts (His mercies and grace to me, in a measure appropriate for the task), I develop these ideas and write in order to offer it to encourage, teach, and foster dialogue in the church, the Body of Christ.
For me, this is where the “rubber meets the road” in worship. This is worship beyond Sunday and infiltrating into my daily life. It is the presentation of my body as a “spiritual service of worship.” In its truest form, this is the widest ranging idea that we can consider as “worship”— a lifestyle in which God is honored and we serve Him daily, moment by moment.
There may be some of you who are authors, or could be, so you may actually join me in this form of worship. However, even then our work will be unique, as God has gifted us with mercy and grace appropriate for our own task, and we both can serve the Body of Christ in this way. Diversity in unity is a key factor in the operation of the church.
Others may have no inclination to write, or research, or do anything of the sort. What is it that God has given you to do? I have a friend who loves to see the church building clean. It is like his mission in life. He is passionate about vacuuming and loves clean windows. There may be others who can vacuum, and some who can clean windows. Even I can do that! But, his internal joy at doing it, and his gifting from God, works to produce actions that go beyond average. This is worship at its best as he serves God by serving the Body of Christ with his gifts. To use a popular phrase, my friend in his cleaning has a “heart of worship.”
“As exhilarating, burden-lifting, and life-transforming as worship in our services can be,” T.D. Jakes writes, “this is only a part of the meaning of worship for the believer. Worship comprises the very essence and foundation of our life in Christ. Worship is the complete consecration of our lives to God. It is the attitude we walk in, speak from, and meditate in at all times. Our life is completely and totally His” (T.D. Jakes, Intimacy with God: The Spiritual Worship of the Believer in “Six Pillars From Ephesians, Volume 3” (Tulsa, OK: Albury Publishing, 2000), pg. 6).
(Original Post on August 13, 2013 at the Worldview Church: http://www.worldviewchurch.org/worshiparts/articles/20198-uniquely-you-worshiping-in-your-giftedness)
Posted on March 17, 2014, in Christian Worldview, Content of Worship, Corporate Worship, theology, Worship Leader and tagged Mark Sooy, theology, worship, worship leader, WorshipThink. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.