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.
You may be thinking, “Wait a minute… I thought my main act of worship was going to church every Sunday… ?!” Friends, we are told in Romans 12 that the regular out-workings of living Holy Spirit indwelled lives are our most ordinary, every day worship. If the Holy Spirit lives in you, some of his ordinary means of grace include things that you do outside of a worship service by way of the gifts he has given you for the building of HIS kingdom (and nowhere does it say you are limited to one singular spiritual gift.) Many of the things he calls his people to, for some reason, have become what we have segregated off into the category called “radical” or somehow reserved for someone other than the every day believer.
Look at Romans 12 and think about how God calls people to their spiritual acts of worship. This isn’t an exhaustive list of ways in which he calls us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, which he calls our acts of worship. But leading with zeal, serving cheerfully, boldly speaking the truth that no one wants to hear, giving generously… These are mentioned as gifts, not because they are uncommon or rare, but because they are normative in the body of Christ.
If indeed we are called to these spiritual acts of worship, these living sacrifice expressions, ought we to expect that they will never stretch us beyond our comfort levels? Or does Jesus really call you out of darkness and into his glorious light so you can just go to church and Sunday school on Sunday morning? Sure, going to church is currently counter-cultural in many places. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that this alone is to be the sum total of your witness in the world. Friends, he calls us out of darkness, but he also calls us to be outward facing, not navel gazing.
What is our calling as believers, as a body of people gathered around not just a cause but a person, to be toward our communities? Toward our world? Is the discomfort of seeking to reach and sacrificially love our neighbors reserved only for the “radical”? No. These callings are ORDINARY. The Great Commission doesn’t only apply to missionaries and pastors. It’s a call to all believers. It’s one of the ordinary means of grace… it’s one of the ways we worship. It is a sacrifice so you can expect it to be uncomfortable…
Sacrifices are by nature costly.
Friends, if your Christian life is never one that makes you deeply aware that you are utterly dependent upon Jesus to accomplish what he has called you to, you may need to ask him, “Lord, is my life a spiritual act of worship? And if yes? To what, or to whom?” Yes, we are called to be about Jesus’s business, just as he is about the Father’s business. And while you may be tempted to think that the way of Jesus that takes you to out of the way people and places is somehow radical or reserved for the hard-core, it is indeed ordinary in the Kingdom of Jesus. Normative. It’s the transformed and transforming outworking of renewed minds. It’s hard. It’s messy. It asks more of you than you are comfortable giving. It’s how God ordinarily builds his kingdom. Please don’t leave it to “the experts.”
Offer your bodies as living sacrifices… THIS is your spiritual act of worship!
9Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[h] Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.