Worship Comes Before Transformation
By Rick Warren
— April 6, 2011
“As she stood behind Jesus at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” Luke 7:38 (NIV)
"You don't have to clean up your act before you can worship God. Just worship him and he'll clean up your act. You don't repent and confess in order to earn forgiveness. You change your ways because you've been forgiven."
There are some powerful lessons about worship and about the transformation that happens in the life of a worshiper in Luke 7. The sinful woman in this story exhibited four traits we need to take note of:
- She worshiped boldly. This woman took a risk coming to the Pharisee’s house. She could have been thrown out or stoned, but she came boldly. She marched right into the house, into the dining room, into Jesus’ presence. Why would she do that? She was looking for forgiveness. She was looking for hope and acceptance. She was looking for some kind of change in her life. She was not there just to pay homage to some holy guy.
- She worshiped humbly. She wept in Jesus’ presence, wetting his feet with her tears. Then, in her deep sorrow, she got down on her knees, showing her submission to God, and dried his feet with her hair.
- She worshiped honestly. Many biblical scholars believe the sinful woman must have been a prostitute because she brought an expensive jar of perfume with her. This jar of perfume had significance – it represented her life; it represented her background; it was one of the tools of the trade. When she came to Jesus with that jar and poured it on his feet, it was her confession. She was honestly telling Jesus who she was.
- She worshiped extravagantly. She showed Jesus extravagant worship by using a jar of perfume that probably cost her an entire year’s wages. And she didn’t just dab on a couple of drops. Luke 7:38 says she poured the perfume on his feet. Why? This was her opportunity to come clean, to meet God, worship him and be transformed. It was her chance to start over.
You don’t have to clean up your act before you can worship God. Worship him and he’ll clean up your act. You don’t repent and confess in order to earn forgiveness. You change your ways because you’ve been forgiven.
Romans 12 says that we offer ourselves to the Lord in worship so that he can transform us. It’s the worship that comes first. That’s what we see in this woman’s life.
Read The Way of the Worshiper by Buddy Owens -- This book is not about music. It's not even about going to church. It's about living your life as an offering of worship to God. It's about tapping into the source of power to live the Christian life. And it's about discovering the secret to friendship with God.