The following post, titled 'Living Worship', is based on our True Worship Series across C3 Sydney's 11 locations.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
Rom 12:1-2 MSG
Worship is not just an activity; it is a life calling and a lifestyle. The activity of worship is but the overflow of a life that loves the God we worship.
These verses in Romans highlight two aspects to living worship:
- We need to make lifestyle choices that help us to walk in worship
- We need to resist the worldly culture that competes for our worship
Our world is like a modern-day Babylon. Babylon symbolises worldliness represented by an enemy who is seeking to oppress our worship choices and us. The book of Daniel talks the most about Babylon. Daniel means ‘God is my judge’ and he lived his life aware of this meaning. His relationship with God flowed out in his life and the choices he made. Babylon was a culture that sought to eliminate the distinctiveness of being a Christian. Everything Daniel had grown up with in Israel was banned in Babylon. He had to live in this culture but still remain true to God.
Living worship resists the temptation to conform to worldly standards. We are called to push back against the darkness when it becomes present. Daniel demonstrates this through his commitment to prayer even when commanded not to by the laws of Babylon.
Three examples of worldly patterns we are tempted to conform to:
- Overworked and stressed, finally managing to crash into a holiday that doesn’t end up being very relaxing
- Constantly comparing ourselves to others
- Continually purchasing things to make us feel better about ourselves
We are designed to make lifestyle choices to live in worship. A lifestyle of worship honours the rhythms of the Christian calendar. Some of these rhythms include:
Daily prayer: Slowing down to be with Jesus. When we rush Jesus, we rush His artwork in us. Part of our resistance is to allow time with Jesus each day.
Sabbath delight: It’s not a religious activity. Cutting out those distractions and spending time one day a week doing the things that delight us. Self-care is key to living a life of worship.
All of these practices are foreign to the world, but we have been designed to change the world. In order to be world changers we first have to be changed ourselves.
There are three essential characteristics to a lifestyle of living worship:
Intimacy with Jesus
We struggle with intimacy because it requires us to make ourselves vulnerable and open to change. God favoured Daniel because he set himself apart on the inside. Jesus always set aside the early morning to be with the Father before the distractions of the day could press upon Him. “Win the first hour of the day and you’ll win your day.” We function best when in the presence of God.
Martha was working for Jesus but was missing Jesus while Mary chose the better way by sitting at Jesus’ feet to listen to her Lord. We always have sufficient energy for the things we want to do.
Staying free from the love of idols
An idol is a substitute for God. We’re unaware of how attached we are to things until God takes them away. Christ calls us to lay down every part of our lives in submission to God -He will provide all we need.
The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness immediately after being baptised. The wilderness is always a test of our identity and worship by challenging us with false worship. False worship is “I am what I have” and “I am what I do”.
Becoming more like God over time
We’re called to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to change us into God’s image until we’re perfected. The story of the Samaritan woman is a story for all of us. God knows everything about us and He desires we let go of the ways of the world so His love can shape us.
The heart is where living worship and true worship exists.
Living worshippers reflect and reveal Jesus in all they do. Our lives must have a practical outworking and expression of our worship.
Something to talk about:
1. Discuss which of the 3 worldly patterns particularly challenge you and encourage each other with reflections on how to best resist them.
2. Discuss ways in which we all could better adopt spiritual rhythms in our lives.
3. Encourage each other with comments on how to incorporate the 3 essential characteristics of living worship in our lives.
Click here to watch the online service on the message 'Living Worship'.