What does it mean to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God?
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1)
Today, after many years of asking, I have received a personal understanding. But in order for you to understand, let me share a few things about myself.
I am originally from Brazil, born into a believing and loving family and part of a big faith community. Even as a young boy I would look at the worship leaders standing on stage with the bright lights and everyone watching them. It really attracted me. I wanted to be just like them!
When I was eight, my family and I immigrated to Israel. I will never forget the first congregation we visited. We arrived just in time for worship. Everyone sat while someone played the piano, but was hidden from view. There was no stage. It felt weird.
I started playing the guitar a lot, and at age 13, we moved to another congregation, with a stage. Though I had no experience, I was invited to lead worship. Many of our songs were in archaic biblical Hebrew, hard even for native Hebrew speakers. I did not understand some of what I was singing, but for the first time I was up in front, leading everyone in worship. I continued in this role until I was 21 and in all those years I did not understand “true and proper worship.”
At Revive Israel, I began serving with music worship three times a week and there God began to show me what true worship is. Many times we sang spontaneous “prophetic” songs, repeating the same words dozens of times. It drove me crazy until one day God showed me that I was not really worshiping him wholeheartedly, and He began to work in me.
I believe this is the key question: Is worship singing a song with music or living our regular daily life?
The answer is: Yes. Both.
Some of you might say, “I’m already doing musical worship on Sunday or Saturday.” It’s not enough. Worship should follow you at all times―at work, in the supermarket, at home with your family. When you dedicate yourself everywhere as a living sacrifice to God, it all glorifies Him.
Finally, I want to share with you my most recent revelation on this subject. When I was told to write this article, I didn’t know what to write! Then one night, I was putting my baby son to bed and he was crying. I started to sing for him. Suddenly the Lord told me:
“I want you to dedicate yourself to me as a living sacrifice. I want you to do this every time you come to me in worship. It is not pleasing to me if you come and you don’t want to be a living sacrifice and to give me your all.”
I then started to give Him everything―a moment of anger, a bad thought, all the small experiences. Worship is not only found in singing, but day in and day out, in every place and every hour. True worship is when you dedicate yourself to God as a living sacrifice, lowering your ego and self-esteem as Jesus did for us. And, just at that moment, my baby fell asleep.