Psalm 81:1 | Romans 12 

Isn’t worship something you do in church, right before the preaching? 

Worship is, as Morgan said, the musical part of a church service before the pastor gives the message. It is also a style of Christian music. It is raising your hands, falling on your knees, offering gifts, or any combination of the above.

Sing praises to God, our strength. Sing to the God of Jacob.

Psalm 81:1 NLT

Worship is all that, but not just that. As Joél stated, “It’s a way of living your life so that you praise God in everything you do.” The Apostle Paul wrote a whole chapter on this subject in his letter to the early Christians in Rome.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

Romans 12:1 NLT

Paul tells us that worshipping God may take different forms, based on who is doing it. He explains that we are each made in a unique way, with different abilities and talents.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.

Romans 12:6a NLT

So you may worship God by singing or playing musical instruments, while others may do so by helping people, or by being a trustworthy friend. Each person has their own set of gifts.

If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Romans 12:8 NLT

Regardless of your gifting, you have to use it to worship. You have to take its use seriously, and be glad to do it.

When put this way, worship does not sound too hard, does it? You don’t have to work yourself into a state of mind to do it, nor do you have to stay on pitch or find the perfect harmony. You can do those things, of course, if they are part of your gifting–or if you just like doing them!

The most important part of worship is your heart. Jesus was asked by the Pharisees why his disciples did not strictly follow Jewish law by washing their hands every time before they ate. Before answering, He rebuked them, quoting the Prophet Isaiah:

“ ‘These people honor me by what they say. But their hearts are far away from me. Their worship doesn’t mean anything to me. They teach nothing but human rules.’ ” 

Matthew 15:8-9 NLT

Even if you do all the right things, where is your heart? Are you doing them to honor God, or to honor yourself? 

As you make worship your lifestyle, you will find that it gets more and more exciting to use the gifts God gave you to accomplish his holy purposes. You will love it more and more, and you will grow to love Him more and more as well.

Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 

Romans 12:11-12 NLT

Questions for Group Discussion

  • What do you picture when you think of worship? Why?
  • Have you ever considered the act of using your gifts a method of worshipping God? Does it seem too easy?
  • What gifts could you use to worship God? Does being good at soccer, surfing, or social media count? (If you are having trouble answering this question, try the application activity below.)

Application: Paul’s Instructions

Sometimes it is easier to follow instructions as a list of bullet points than as blocks of text in paragraph form. 

The Apostle Paul gives us instructions for how to worship God with our life. He does so by listing first examples of gifts we can use in serving God, and then ways to show God’s love to others in daily living.

Make a list of Paul’s Instructions for Worship in Romans 12. Break the list items down into the following two categories:

  1. Using Your Unique Gifts (verses 6-8)
  2. Ways to Show God’s Love (verses 9-20)

Under your list, write down any other important items from the scripture, as well as anything God might be telling you through reading it.