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Supersonic Worship

When you think ‘worship’, what comes to mind? Spend a minute and think about it before reading on.

Seriously, did you pause and think about it, or did you just keep on reading? Because if you just continued on, the rest of this won’t matter as much. So take the minute.

Ok…now that you’ve done that, let me ask what you thought about. Did you think of Sunday morning, when the music is playing in church, and you are singing along with the rest of the congregation? Probably so. But is that all it takes to worship, or is there more to it? Are there subtle rules involved? When does singing turn into worship? Do you just move your lips, but aren’t really singing out loud…Are you raising your hands or keeping them in your pockets…Do you feel like the higher your hands are raised, the truer your worship is…Are you standing still or dancing?

Have you ever asked yourself this question…Do the people around me at church believe that I’m worshiping as well as they are? What must they be thinking? Here’s my answer to that one…who cares! Who is your worship directed towards? It’s not the people around you. Most people around me that hear me sing on Sunday mornings can attest to that! It’s not towards the musicians and singers. And it’s not toward yourself.

Maybe you are someone that thinks Sunday mornings are for worshiping God, of course; but you want more. You desire to worship him as you go about your weekday too. So, you listen to praise music in your car or house, and you sing along, putting you in the ‘mode’ of worship all day long. Now you figure that you’re truly worshiping because you have incorporated it into the rest of your week.

At what point do you cross the threshold where you can say you have begun worshiping? Is there some invisible line? Is it like the sound barrier? A jet can go really fast, but it’s not until it reaches 768 MPH that it breaks the sound barrier and becomes supersonic. At what point do you go from just singing in church on Sunday morning to something more? To actually worshiping God! And where did these rules come from?

The fact is there is no clear criteria to answer these questions. That’s because God is not interested in the dogmatic rules we as Christians tend to apply to others ‘worshiping’ around us. God is interested in our commitment to honor him with praise involving our entire being.

Paul provides what is probably the most complete portrayal of worship in all of scripture and he does it in a single verse.

Romans 12:1 ESV

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.

In this passage, Paul is describing the perfect picture of worship. He explains how it’s even possible for disobedient creatures like us to offer praise to our perfect Lord. When Paul writes ‘by the mercies of God’, he is saying that because of our merciful God, and because of his compassion towards us, we are able to offer praise towards him. We aren’t worthy to worship God on our own, but through his mercy towards us which is perfectly expressed in the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we become the recipients of his grace; and our response is to worship him. Our worship on its own is filthy rags to the Father. But our worship that is through his Son Jesus Christ becomes holy and acceptable to God. Jesus changes everything, including your worship.

Paul says to ‘present your bodies as a living sacrifice’. In this statement, Paul is painting a powerful picture of complete submission to the Lord. Presenting your body as a living sacrifice requires giving God your mind, your heart, your eyes, your mouth, your muscles, your entire being. It must be presented to God as a sacrifice on his altar. Paul ties it all together by saying this is your spiritual worship. Because of God’s mercy…body and spirit…holy and acceptable…sacrificed to God. That, my friend, is your spiritual worship.

There is no checklist to fill out. There is no set of rules to follow. Nothing definitively tells you or me that another person is worshiping. I can’t know and neither can you. It’s not up to us, and thank God for that! It’s not our job to judge someone else’s worship. Jesus is the Judge, and God knows when you, his creation, have submitted your entire being to praise him.

Think of all that God has done for you and honor him with your worship in a spirit of thanksgiving!

He's your good Father and he knows and he wants our hearts. We all need to examine our own hearts and ask God for discernment to know if our sacrifice, our spiritual worship, is holy and acceptable to him. I think if we truly ask him for that, there’s a fair chance that many of us won’t like the answer. But that’s why we have repentance. Pray over this and re-approach him with a grateful spirit for all that your Heavenly Father has done for you.

Keep God as the focus when you worship. Not you or me, or anyone else around you. Don’t take your eyes off him when you’re worshiping, and Jesus makes it holy and acceptable to the Father.

Philippians 4:4 ESV

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.



Foster, Richard (1998). The Spiritual Disciplines (3rd Ed.). New York, NY. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV Text Edition: (2016). Romans 12:1. Philippians 4:4. Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.