I started “real dating” in High School. By “real dating” I mean actually driving to the girl’s house, picking her up, paying for dinner and taking her home (usually by curfew). “Real dating” was far beyond the Jr. High “I’ll-meet-you-at-the-movie-with-all-our-friends-when-my-parents-drop-me-off” dating.
I remember my first “real date.” I don’t mind telling you that I had to beg the girl to go out with me. She was a wonderful, godly young lady from our church. (Incidentally, she is still a wonderful godly young lady –and she married a wonderful godly man).
A few days before the first date, my mom approached me with an envelope. She said it was for our date. I opened the envelope to find a $5 off coupon to a nice restaurant in town. This was a kind gesture on my mom’s part –but let’s be honest, there was no way I was going to use a coupon on a date!
Can you imagine the message that might have communicated to the girl?
“You’re not worth full price”
Yikes! Not quite the message I wanted to get across. Not to mention, I would be admitting to couponing –which, let’s be honest, does not get you “cool points” in High School.
Our relationship with Christ is much like a romantic relationship between a man and a woman. Scripture uses that imagery often (Isaiah 62:5, Ephesians 5:25). The idea is that Christ loves us with the passion of a groom for his bride. And the full extent of His love is seen in the way He serves us even unto death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). In other words, He paid the full price for our salvation –no coupons, no discounts, no price breaks. His work on the cross was completely paid in full by his blood.
Just as Christ has loved us completely, we are now called to love Him completely. (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37). The essence of our love for him is called “worship.” Worship is bowing down our heart to Christ in adoration and affection.
Romans 12:1 explains the idea: “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.”
The verse begins with the phrase “by the mercies of God,” implying that our worship is a response to Christ’s great work on the cross. We love him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Therefore, it stands to reason that if Christ loved us completely, we should worship Him whole-heartedly.
This idea of “whole-hearted” worship is found in the next phrase, “present your bodies as living sacrifices.”
Christ presented His body unto death in order for us to present ourselves for life through His resurrection power.
Although we are prone to speak of worship in terms of a one-hour time slot during the week in a church facility, worship is actually a lifestyle. It’s not just singing, it’s living.
Unfortunately many of us are not whole-hearted with our worship. Instead, we practice “cheap worship” and in so doing, communicate to Christ, “You’re not worth the full price.” Not only does this dishonor Christ, but it fails to accurately reflect his commitment to paying the full price for our salvation.
We use our “Cheap worship coupons” when we:
- Treat worship as an optional feature of Christian living (which it is not)
- Worship only with our lips and not with our lives (hypocrisy)
- Act as though worship can be compartmentalized into events rather than a lifestyle
- Only worship when we are “in the mood” rather than letting our worship change our mood
- Focus on different styles of worship rather than the object of our worship (Christ)
King David understood. He declared, “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24).
What about you? Are you going out on “cheap dates” with Christ? Put away the “worship coupons” and let your costly worship declare your whole-hearted affection!