From the moment our eyes pop open in the morning, we are driven by our appetites, our physical and emotional wants and needs. All of us feel powerful compulsions for food, security, stimulation, communication, power, intimacy, and significance. We are driven to avoid things that cause discomfort, stress, and pain. We strive to manage events to our advantage, always looking for an angle, always interested in what’s in it for us.
Until we are converted to Christ, our lives center on ourselves, our own pleasures, comforts, and desires. In the hearts of believers, however, lives the Holy Spirit, and he reorients our life focus.
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1). This is a monumental revolution in our life-drivers. It literally turns our life focus inside out, down to up. Putting God first in our life agenda is radical.
What does this mean for us? It means adopting God’s principles of right and wrong. It means being willing to suffer short-term inconvenience or pain, trusting that doing the right things will benefit us and others in the long term. It means seeking God’s approval first, before even that of family and friends. Our hero and model is Christ himself, who put himself through a humble, service-oriented life; terrible suffering; and a criminal’s death in order to redeem the human race.
This is true worship.