Romans 12:1 and Colossians 3:17 force us to answer some very uncomfortable questions about ourselves and our lives. They are questions that we would rather leave not only unanswered but leave unasked as well. It means that every detail of life, every seemingly inconsequential action or thought must be brought under the microscope of some probing questions.
“Therefor I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable act of worship.” Romans 12:1
“In whatever you do, in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
What might some of those hard questions be? For starters, since we are to worship God with our whole body, we might start by asking, “am I worshiping God by the way I am taking care of my body?” I know at this point some of you may be very tempted to click onto another website, but the point needs to be made. When was the last time you heard a sermon dealing with gluttony, the sin of overindulgence on food? I would guess never. Why, because far too many people in western cultures consume food for their comfort and it is many ways their God. That includes a serious amount of preachers who by fact of their own girth, could never get away with preaching such a sermon. Think about how this dishonors God. He created you. You are His work of art. If you had a Picasso or a Rembrandt in your home, how would you care for it? Certainly it would not be left under a pile of junk in the garage. It would be protected and honored and cared for. We would honor that painting ultimately out of respect for the artist who makes it so valuable. How much more should we honor the Master who created the works of art that we call “our” bodies? But this is just one example of how everything needs to be submitted to God and every thought, word, and deed needs to be an act of worship in the name of Jesus.
How about another hard question? Am I worshiping God by the way I serve my employer? When we fail to give our best to our employer we dishonor God who has placed that employer in authority over us. What kind of statement does it make when those who do not know Jesus have the impression of us as people who are always looking for the easy way out, or are gossiping about others, or moaning and complaining about our boss. Those are pretty obvious shortcomings. But failing to honor God in all we do is not limited to the obvious wrongs. When you are on the clock for your employer but are using that time for your own devotion or Bible reading time, you might think that you are being a good witness for God’s glory. The truth is, you are being a thief towards your employer and telling God that you only have time to read your Bible when someone is paying you to do something else.
Ask yourself, does your demeanor in the marketplace reflect positively on Jesus? When it does, it is an act of worship. When it does not, it is an act of idolatry. We substitute our desire for gossip, or our feelings of unfairness, or the right to have a bad attitude for a life that worships God in all we do. We can do this in the workplace, the neighborhood, the school and even the sanctuary. We place that thing, that attitude, that sin, on the altar of our lives and push God aside. And when we do, the person in the next cubicle, or apartment, or desk, who does not know Jesus, is given one more reason to discount him.
Following Jesus is not about something we do on occasion. That’s a hobby. We collect stamps, or build model airplanes, or make quilts, because it is something that we enjoy. It gives us pleasure, even a certain sense of purpose or fulfillment. We can pick it up when we want to and put it down when we get bored with it or it becomes too costly or we are not sure what to do next. Many people approach following Jesus this way. But the Bible is most demanding that we live our lives for Him each and every moment. Everything we do is to be done in Him and for Him.
What is at stake in this is the very honor of God. How we live is a statement of what we think of the creator of life. If in fact we call Him Lord, then He is Lord over all, at all times, in all situations. To live every moment for Jesus is not an obedience that pains us. Instead it is an act of adoration for the Lord that we live for Him out of love for Him. That love for Him should be something that is fueled by a passion for Jesus like no other. We are told that those who are forgiven much should love much. How much have you been forgiven by Jesus? Your passionate love for Him and desire to honor Him with every breath, word, and action should be driven by the depth of forgiveness that you have experienced in Christ.