First person: True worship - Baptist Messenger of Oklahoma

Amy Cordova spoke during Oklahoma Baptist University’s Women’s Missions and Ministry Chapel Wednesday, March 11. OBU photo by Heather Hamilton.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship” (Rom. 12:1).

Recently, I was preparing to speak at a worship pastors’ wives conference. I was excited for this opportunity since corporate worship through music has always been my favorite element of a worship gathering. I wanted to encourage these ladies in a memorable way. My heart kept drawing me back to Romans 12.

I have had the first two verses of Romans 12 memorized since I was little girl, but those two words, “true worship,” jumped off the page as I was preparing what I wanted to share.

Paul defines true worship as surrendering ourselves completely to God. Rom. 12:2 shows us how to surrender ourselves to Him, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God.”

When we read Scripture, we see the definition of worship defined more clearly. Renewing our minds is part of surrendering our entire selves to Christ! Scientific studies have confirmed that a majority of our thoughts are negative. Oftentimes, those negative thoughts are recurring. This can create a toxic spiral of negativity in our minds.

Many times, I have seen the attack of the enemy happening through a person’s thoughts. John 10:10 teaches us that the enemy comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but Jesus came so that we may have life and have it in abundance. In 2 Tim. 1:7, Paul reminds Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and sound judgment.” We no longer have to be slaves to our own thoughts. There is power and freedom found in Christ.

Recently, I was teaching my girls, ages 9 and 6, these truths. I tallied up negative comments I had heard them say that morning. Then I drew a spiral from those negative tally marks. I asked them if my spiral drawings reminded them of anything.

Immediately, they saw the drawing take a tornado-like shape. “Girls,” I said, “you know how destructive tornados can be. When you continue to think negative thoughts, lies from the enemy, it will destroy your mind. But God has given us the power to overcome these lies.”

Remember Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi? It’s such a joyful book, yet we know Paul is writing this letter from prison. His mind was renewed in Christ! With great joy, he greets the church out of thanksgiving for their partnership in the Gospel (Phil. 1:3-5). Even in the midst of trial and hardship, he encourages the church to rejoice, reminding them the Lord is near (Phil. 4:4-5).

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we have a choice of what we think about. As I learn more about how God has designed our brains, I have discovered how much our thoughts matter. In fact, our thoughts produce matter. Studies show that our thoughts can actually change our DNA.

While Paul is in prison, he is teaching the Philippian church that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Even in the midst of brokenness and chaos, we can have peace because we have Jesus.

In renewing our minds, what should we think about? Paul provides us a beautiful list of thoughts to dwell on: whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, morally excellent and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). These are the subjects we are to think about.

Today, I encourage you to take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). This is true worship. May the God of peace be with you (Phil. 4:9).