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Proclamation Index

Reason and Worship

When one examines the idea of reason as worship, they do not have to look far to find

biblical support. It is clear in scripture that God intends for us to engage the mind and

use reason to worship Him. Our Lord Himself commanded that we should love God with the whole of our minds. (Mark 12:30-31 NIV) We engage in worship through reason by refusing to

conform to the patterns of the world and completely transforming the way that we think.

We take our own thoughts captive and demolish arguments that set themselves up in

opposition to God. Therefore, the use of the faculty of reason is an act of worship to God, and this expression of worship is clearly exemplified through the transformation of our minds.

God intends for us to use reason to worship Him. In Paul’s letter to Christ-followers in

Rome, we read, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to

offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and

proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the

renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his

good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2, NIV) This passage points us to the reality of what it means to present our entire being to God as a living sacrifice. Presenting oneself as a living sacrifice is an intentional act... an act of the will that begins in the mind. According to scripture, the way that we truly engage God in worship is through the presentation of our bodies to Him. And, as we yield ourselves to Him, our minds are renewed and made able to resist the pressure to conform to the world’s standards. Rather than our minds being conformed to earthly patterns, they are transformed and our thinking is increasingly patterned after God's standards. So then, our task is to transform the way that we think. It is through this transformation that we are made capable of discerning the will of God in our own lives.

One of the clear evidences that this process of transformation has taken hold in the life of the believer is the shift that occurs in how we understand and apply the use of logic and reason to our faith. "Reason" which is defined as the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic, was given to us by our Creator. Worship can be described as the act of giving back to God that which properly belongs to God. (Mark 12:17; Revelation 4:4, 10-11 NIV). Working from that definition, we can easily see how the application of reason toward God-glorifying ends would certainly be regarded as worshipful.

When examining other passages, one cannot help but be drawn to the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth. When writing to the Corinthian Church, Paul says, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NIV) Paul indicates that we can demolish the arguments that are set up against God by taking our own thoughts captive. To adequately captivate our thoughts, we must carefully consider our steps. We must make conscious decisions that point our thoughts back to God. Why? Because the enemy will do everything in his power to captivate our thoughts for his own purposes. The Christian mind is the battlefield on which every believer must be determined to fight. Our ability to take our thoughts captive will, to a large degree, influence how effective we are as worshipers.

Some have argued that every decision we make can be categorized as either an act of worship toward God or an act of faithlessness/self-worship. As it is written, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding... The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. (Proverbs 9:10; Psalm 14:1 NIV) When we look at the question through this lens, we see that the application of Godly reason is directly linked to worship. Our knowledge of who He is and the application of that knowledge to our lives is a function of Godly reason. Reason and worship go hand in hand because each decision we make results in either worship given to God or the glorification of self. Each decision we make can be viewed as an act of worshiping God or an act of worshiping self.

When we look deeper, we begin to understand that reason can only become worshipful when we possess the mind of Christ. This occurs when our Christian faith becomes central to everything we say and do. It is not enough to be marginally committed to Christ. The prevailing thought in the life of the believer should center around what can be done to align us with God’s character. There is a significant relationship between reason and worship. Our task as followers of Christ is to engage each decision we face with the mind of Christ. We are called to take our own thoughts captive so that we can know and do the will of God, reasonably interact with non-believers, and ultimately point them back to God. We are called to completely transform the way we think. This can be done by giving careful thought to each of our decisions and determining what best honors God. Worship is not done in the absence of reason. The effectiveness of worship isn't primarily gauged by the depth of one's feelings. When we engage in worship, we make a conscious choice to capture our own thoughts and point them toward God... to glorify God in a way that He has prescribed. The Lord never intended that we engage in worship in the absence of reason. We were created to be rational beings who can think and act. When we use that ability to direct our thoughts and actions back to our Creator, we begin to understand the relationship that exists between reason and worship.


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