Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sunday Best

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

-- 1 Corinthians 10:31

Maybe you grew up attending a traditional church. That might have meant getting up early on Sunday mornings, eating breakfast with the family and then rushing to put on your "Sunday best" - those clothes and shoes you wore only to church and on very special occasions. Then it was time to get in the car, drive to the service and listen to the preacher, choir and organist do their things.

Of course, there's nothing necessarily wrong with this. Millions of people in fact feel closer to God in a traditional church setting -- one often characterized by stained glass windows, choirs, sanctuaries and organ music. And wearing one's Sunday best is to them yet another way to set apart the day and glorify God.

Other Christ-followers have a different perspective. They observe that all the formalities of the traditional church can actually hinder authentic worship. Rather than "being themselves," the traditionalists literally put on a different suit of clothes on one day of the week while living quite differently on the other six. Or at least that's the word from some critics.

Regardless of your preference in worship style, there's no doubt that every Christ-follower must avoid the trap of worshipping God with their lips rather than their daily actions and lifestyles. Yes, an awe-inspiring church sanctuary (and even a movie theater) can be a place of worship and prayer. But so are the workplace, gym and supermarket. What's more, the Bible tells us that our bodies are literally temples. So wherever we go each day -- our place of worship follows.

We're all hard-wired for worship. Even those who claim to be strict atheists are really active worshippers. True, they may not be regular churchgoers and proclaim Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But they - like everyone - worship something. Some worship money, luxury and pleasure, and others intellect and higher learning. Still others kneel at the altar of more negative gods such as alcohol, drugs and illicit relationships. It really boils down to the things we worry about or sacrifice our time and money for. What are the issues that make you angry? What brings you the most joy? And here's a revealing question: Whose attention and applause do you most crave?

So what type of worship does God honor? The Sunday morning variety for Christ-followers generally consists of singing praise songs, teaching God's lessons and sincerely thanking Him for how He blesses our lives through the revelation of His Son, Jesus Christ. But every day and everywhere, we also must worship God by being Jesus' hands, feet and eyes in our community. We do our 9:00 - 5:00 jobs as if God were our boss (and in fact, He is !) rather than a human supervisor. And overall, we look for ways to ease suffering and make the world just a bit better. Perhaps the Apostle Paul best sums it up through his famous words from the twelfth chapter of Romans:

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship."

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