What does a holistic life of worship look like when we are at work or at school or when we are engaged in the daily tasks that make up the bulk of our lives? The following excerpt is from John Piper’s sermon, “What Is the Will of God and How Do We Know It?” preached on August 22, 2004.
The aim of Romans 12:1–2 is that all of bodily life — everything you do with your bodies, all of life — be worship: “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
Worshipping Christ in Daily Life
The goal of these two verses is that you find the way of life at work and at home that makes Christ look as valuable as he really is. That is what worship is. Worship is an expressing, a display, of the worth of all that God is for us in Christ. So when your bodily life — what you do with your hands, your feet, your arms, your tongue, your eyes, your ears — becomes worship, it becomes a way of displaying the value and the worth of Christ. So that is the point of these verses.
“Worship is an expressing, a display, of the worth of all that God is for us in Christ.”
Paul wants to build on eleven chapters of theology and turn your life into doxology so that it sounds like doxology, it looks like doxology, it smells like doxology. And if you don’t know how to do that at work, if your work feels like the kind of work where that is an absolutely inconceivable idea, there are two possible problems. One is, you have the wrong job. But that is probably not the case. It is probably that verse 2 isn’t happening to the degree that it should.
Verse 2 is the means by which verse 1 comes about. Your life becomes a worship to God, it becomes a manifestation of the worth and value of Jesus, when you are not conformed to the world and all their values, but you are transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that the will of God becomes precious to you and a joy to you, and you find yourself living a lifestyle of love and sacrifice and Christ-exalting standards that cause the world to recognize his reality and his beauty and his value.
So it is probably not that you are in the wrong job — it is just that we have a lot to do in order to pursue what it means to be renewed in our minds.
When it says in verse 2, “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind,” Christians know it means I am already new. Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” Period. He is a new creation. And then we also know that the Bible builds on that rock-solid reality of our identity in Christ and says, “Now become what you are.” For example, look at 1 Corinthians 5:7: “Cleanse out the old leaven [picturing leaven as sin] that you may be a new lump [picturing the lump of dough as your life] as you really are unleavened.”
Isn’t that amazingly clear? Become what you are. You are unleavened, sinless, perfect, accepted, loved, home in Christ. Now become that in your practical, bodily behavior so that people will see the worth of Jesus Christ to you. Or Colossians 3:10 says it this way: “[You] have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” You have put on the new self. You are there. You are home. You are new. You are in Christ. You are accepted. You are loved. You are justified, acquitted, vindicated, verdict not guilty, it is finished. Now be renewed according to who you are in Christ.