Putting on the clothes of Christ changes not only the way that we walk, but also the way we worship. Like learning to walk in a monastic habit, learning to worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24) takes time, practice, and sometimes a bit of instruction.
I once attended a church in Arkansas that was not too far from the Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs. Sometimes, when we were putting on a drama, the church would borrow costumes from the Passion Play so that we could look like Bible characters. One scene had a lady kneeling and praying, and after the prayer, she stood up. However, since she was not used to wearing a full-length garment, she was having trouble standing up without stepping on the front of her garment. After watching this take place a few times, I offered to show her how to fix this problem. Since she knew I had been a monk at one time, and she had seen me in the church in my habit, she readily took my instructions. And sure enough, she stood without incident on the first try.
The change of worship is not necessarily a change of posture or musical tastes, although it may involve these items. This change of worship is a conscious act that involves the whole of who we are in God. Like learning how to walk in a monastic habit, learning how to worship takes practice and, at times, instruction.
Romans 12:1 says, "Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship" (NIV). The word "body" (soma in the Greek) refers to the whole of a person--including the spirit and soul--not just the flesh. The word "worship" comes from the Greek word Latreia, meaning "service, worship, and to work without wages." This service was not limited to the area of the Tabernacle or the Temple, but of obedience to the voice of the Lord, which grows out of gratitude for God's loving act of salvation.
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 says, "What does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?" (NIV).
The spiritual worship of God involves the holy and pleasing way our bodies are used and sacrificed for God's glory. True worship is not limited to our kneeling or standing in an attitude of adoration from 10:45 to 12:00 on Sunday mornings. To "offer your body as a living sacrifice" means to present your entire self--body, soul, and spirit--to the service of God, in a living and active way that not only honors God, but also encourages and serves others. And this is the question we must all ask ourselves: "Is my worship an act that involves the whole of me, and am I conscious that my obedience to the commands and decrees of the Lord is a spiritual act of worship?"
James D. Thornber