About a year ago, I started on a weight loss journey. My plan was simple: I would exercise and that would do the trick. I would be losing weight in no time. From this failed experience, I learned a few harsh truths. If one desires to lose weight, it must be understood that the key to healthy weight loss is for new habits to be formed. Working out alone typically won’t do it. Refusing to change your diet is often a sure sign of failure. Basically, the journey for the person is all-encompassing. To become new requires a total change of lifestyle. If healthy is how we want to look and feel, healthy—in all aspects—is how we must live.
Modern culture can often lead us to believe that worship is the act of going into a local church and participating in the service that takes place. While this is a true and necessary aspect of biblical worship, the biblical notion of worship teaches that worshiping the Lord extends far beyond one weekly event. In today’s passages, we are reminded that worship is all-encompassing. Total submission to God is expected, for we “are sons of the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 14:1). Consequently, our company, devotions, and other habits should all be governed in ways that protect our relationship with the God of our deliverance.
God’s people are to live in this manner, adhering to God’s rules, because what has been done for us could only be accomplished by God’s divine power and love. “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 14:21 ESV). How blessed we are that we are not expected to earn status in God’s eyes, but that God has given it freely, calling us to live up to that which He has already made us! Yes, God has expectations of His people. Just as Israel received these instructions with the expectation of obedience, we, too, are to respond to God’s gracious guidance and care by contemplating our devotion to Him.
It can never be forgotten that we who belong to God, though empowered by the Holy Spirit, still struggle within our flesh. There is a constant pull to disobey and disregard God’s Word. It is the regeneration of our souls that enables us to live a God-pleasing life. A life of worship is our best chance at overcoming the desires of the flesh. It helps us to rid ourselves of the false idols and gods that seek our worship. A life lived in submission to God’s rule and Word is better able to keep faith in God at its forefront, even in times of trouble. The Holy Spirit works in us, enabling us to follow God.
When we consider what the Lord has done for us, it should evoke the response that Paul urged of the Corinthians, that they “flee from idolatry” (1Corinthians 10:14). One of the great hymns of the church, “Where He Leads Me,” calls us to declare the words, “I can hear my Savior calling, take thy cross and follow, follow Me.” In following Christ faithfully and completely, believers submit themselves to a way that pleases God. Can you see ways that the Lord is calling you to a more complete submission? May we let the Spirit of God lead us in the work of living a life of worship, carrying out all acts to the glory of God (1Corinthians 10:31).