no music required
by Kelly Allsopp
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.Romans 12:1 (NLT)
Matt Redman once penned these revelatory lyrics describing the heart of worship: “When the music fades, and all is stripped away, and I simply come.” What does he mean by “when the music fades”? How can we have worship without music?
Thankfully, the Word of God answers that last question for us. Romans 12:1 (NLT) tells us to “give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” When God Himself defines what true worship is in His Word, I think we should definitely take notes.
If you continue reading Romans 12, you’ll come across God’s list of 34 specific ways you can present your body as a living sacrifice and truly worship Him. Here’s just a sample of what the Bible tells us to do:
- Don’t copy the world.
- Renew your mind.
- Use the gifts God has given you and do them well.
- Be kind.
- Don’t just pretend to love others; really love them.
- Delight in honoring each other.
- Work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
- Help people in need.
- Bless those who persecute you, and pray that God will bless them.
- Live in harmony with each other.
- Never take revenge.
- Meet your enemy’s needs.
- Conquer evil with good.
This is true worship. Love in action. The continual sacrifice of our entire lives—our time, resources, gifts and love to both God and His creation.
My amazing husband, Jim, recently gave me a journal we call “The Book of Love.” Every day, he fills the pages of this book with beautiful, affirming words describing the reasons why he loves me. However, if these written words of love are all I ever received from him—while undoubtedly romantic— it wouldn’t on its own prove or show his true love for me. Love must be demonstrated in tangible ways. Words of love must be backed up with actions of love. It is doing dishes, changing diapers, sharing the remote control, putting your dirty socks in the laundry basket, nursing each other back to health and working through the hard stuff. It is in serving each other; in the selfless choices made; in the submitting, honoring and loving each other as the Bible says; in laying down our entire life sacrificially for the one we love.
On a dreary winter day in 1943, four chaplains and 903 troops boarded the deck of the SS Dorchester. World War II was in full swing, and the ship was headed across the icy North Atlantic where German U-boats lurked. The morning of February 3, a German torpedo ripped into the ship at 12:55 am. The ship’s power and lights went out immediately. “She’s going down!” the men cried. A young GI crept up to one of the chaplains. “I’ve lost my life jacket,” he said. “Take this,” the chaplain said, handing the soldier his jacket. Before the ship sank, each of the four chaplains had given his life jacket to another man. The heroic chaplains then linked arms, sang and lifted their voices in prayer as the Dorchester went down with them on board.
What a beautiful picture. The chaplains could have stopped, sang a song, shared an encouraging scripture verse for the sailors to hold on to, prayed for them and left it at that. But the chaplains knew the sailors needed more than a verse; they needed a life jacket to hold on to. They needed more than a song or prayer offered on their behalf. They needed love in action—a simple yet sacrificial demonstration of love. They needed Romans 12 on two feet. The chaplains truly worshipped that day as they gave up their life jackets. They also continued to truly worship by lifting their hands in prayer and song as they sacrificed their own lives. And the beauty of it all? No music was required!
What we are individually, twenty-four hours a day, is more important than what happens in church once a week. The secret of acceptable worship lies in how we are at home, or at work, and when we are alone and nobody knows what we are doing. It lies in our total lifestyle.R.T. Kendall
Father, thank You for showing me what true worship is. Thank You for giving Your life as a sacrifice for me so I can be in relationship with You. Help me to give my entire life back to You in worship. Help me to live a holy life with my heart focused on worshipping You alone. Please renew my mind so I will be more like You and less like the world. Help me to see others as You see them. Show me how to bless those who persecute me and how to pray for Your blessings over my enemies. Show me how to truly love others. Give me the boldness, anointing and grace to use the gifts You have given to me to serve those around me. Let my life and my worship be more than just words. I offer my body and my life to You right now as a living sacrifice. Let it be pleasing worship to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
- Study the entire chapter of Romans 12.
- Ask the Lord to highlight particular ways you can worship. Write them down. Begin to put these things into practice.
- Ask the Lord to help you become a true worshipper whose whole life is completely surrendered to Him! Get on the altar and stay on the altar—no matter how hot it might get.
- Worship with all your heart … with music and most definitely without.
For Further Study
- Romans 12
- Hebrews 13:15–16
- 2 Timothy 2:20–21
- Mark 12:29–31
- Psalm 61:8 (MSG)