I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1–2)
In 1637, French philosopher Rene Descarte’s famous dictum first appeared: “I think, therefore I am.”
Since then, Western culture has come to assume that information is paramount for the development of both the individual and society. And in many ways, the church has followed suit. If Descarte is right, then it stands to reason that we need to present the right theological data and believers will “become” more spiritual. The right stuff in our heads will naturally lead to the transformation of our being—this, for many, is the default approach to discipleship.
But what if this isn’t exactly how discipleship works? What if this is actually backwards?
Neuroscientists have discovered that the mind’s connection with the body is more interactive than previously thought. Neurologist Dr. Antonio Damasio of the University of Southern California claims that the mind is actually “the body’s captive audience” because our brains are designed to process information through our body’s interaction with our environment, which includes the bodily presence of others. Damasio concludes that the body is “the ground reference for reality,” which means that “the mind [has] to first be about the body.”
In other words, filling your mind with the right information will not necessarily transform your being, but what you do with your body profoundly affects your state of mind.
Neuroscience confirms the Bible’s insistence that gathered worship is vital for Christ-followers.
When it comes to your state of mind, your presence and participation in LifePoint’s worship gatherings matter a great deal. This is why the Apostle Paul told the church at Rome that they were to worship God together by presenting their bodies as a living sacrifice. Through this act of worship, their minds would be renewed; they would receive Kingdom-oriented thought-patterns by which they would be able to perceive God, themselves, and the world around them with “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).
It’s no different for us. Worshiping God with our bodies—singing, lifting hands, greeting, clapping, standing, sitting, listening—in the presence of others who are doing the same is a vital practice for receiving a renewed mind. Our bodies’ interaction with the gathered-worship environment is one way God wants to transform us to be real Christ-followers in life…together.
PRAYER & REFLECTION
- If everyone in our church were as committed to participating in gathered worship as you are, what kind of church would we be? How would our worship look? Would the impact of that commitment level net a positive or negative result across the entire church?
- How can your physical presence make a difference in LifePoint’s worship gatherings? Does the way you present your body (your body’s interaction with the environment) contribute to how you receive what is presented in gathered worship (songs, Scripture readings, sermon, etc)? How might it help others receive what is presented?
- Being intentional about how you use your body can go a long way in renewing your mind, yet too often people are prone to appearing bored during church. Let’s ask the Lord to help us wisely use our bodies to worship Him. Pray that His glory and love would prepare you to joyfully participate this Sunday.
Set List for Sunday, June 16, 2019:
- Kingdom Come (Lift Up Your Heads) (R. di Castiglione)
- Worthy Of Your Name (B. Brown, S. Curran, B. Younker)
- Heart Abandoned (S. Curran, K. Stanfill)
- Your Mercy (M. Dawes, A. Ivey, B. Land, J. McCreary)
- God I Look to You (J. Johnson)