Sunday Worship Services: English @ 9:30 am | Chinese @ 11 am

Pastoral Reflection: Purpose of Life (Part 3): Wor(th)ship

Over the last few weeks we have been talking about what it means to live life on purpose. Last week we discussed the overarching story of the Gospel- Creation, Fall, Redemption, Recreation and how the big story of God’s plan of salvation helps us to understand how we fit into His story. The Christian life is not about getting God to make our story work for us, but about making our lives fit into God’s story.

We cannot tell the story of Redemption without understanding the role of worship. One basic concept that is important to understand us as human beings is to understand us as worshipers. Most people don’t think about human beings in that way. We think of ourselves as workers, citizens, or members of a family or a society. But being a worshiper is a key aspect of what it means to be a human.

Last week we studied the creation account in Genesis and saw how God created humanity in His image. This applies to both genders. To be created in God’s image gave us great dignity and honor and at the same time gave us great responsibility. We were meant to display God to all creation. We were called to reflect God. In other words, we were created to be worshipers.

What does it mean to worship? As in the title, it means to give something great worth. We demonstrate the worth of something through the use of our time, our resources, our energy, our thoughts, our affections and our fears. What we worship motivates us. It’s what we think will lead us to lasting happiness and peace. This is the place that God deserves.

It’s important to remember that just because a person does not worship the Triune God, does not mean a person stops being a worshiper. The worship that should be directed to God ends up being redirected toward something else. Even those who do not profess a faith in God end up redirecting that worship toward a philosophy, a profession, recognition from others or material possessions. Part of the impact of the Fall of Adam was that our worship has been skewed. But Jesus came to restore and redirect our worship toward God. Those who are in Christ have been caught up in the beauty and wonder of Christ’s act of love. They are those are amazed that God would have mercy on us and love us in spite of our unfaithfulness. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, God leads us to redirect our worship toward him once again. Christ becomes the object of our joy and our delight. We worship to remind ourselves of God’s mercy and regularly redirect our worship to him again.

However, many have a limited concept of worship. Often when church folks talk about worship, they refer to the 15-20 minutes of singing during the Sunday Service. This leads people to separate the activities of Sunday with Monday through Saturday. This discontinuity leads people to act one way in church and a different way at home and still a different way at work or school.

But this is not the way worship is to be understood. In Romans 12:1-2, Paul writes to the church in Rome and explains what worship looks like: [1] I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. [2] Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)

First, we see here that Paul calls us to respond to what God has done for us. God has given us mercy. All we do in worship is respond to God’s gracious act of mercy.
Second, worship involves offering our bodies. It’s not just a mental exercise or spiritual meditation. Worship involves using our bodies and involves this physical world.
Third, it’s a living sacrifice. A sacrifice usually is connected with something that is killed. But the type of worship that God desires involves our lives.
Fourth, we’re called not to be shaped by the thinking of the world, but to be transformed by the gospel.
Fifth, our worship involves aligning our desires and ambitions toward God’s will.

What does this mean? It means our worship involves our interactions in the world. When a believer desires to put Christ on display, it is not just in the walls of the church. It is at work. It is at home. It is how we use our time, our minds, our resources, and our energy. Worship is learning to think God’s thoughts after Him. It involves desiring God’s purposes and conforming our ambitions and our lives toward those goals. How does this play out practically in my life? More on this next weekz