John 4:23-24 says:
"Yet a time is coming and has now come
when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth,
for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
God seeks true worshippers and for Him, real worshipers are those who worship in spirit and truth. These 2 go together. A true worshipper will have both in his worship. How is it to be a true worshipper? What does it mean to worship in the Spirit and in truth?
Worship in the Spirit
God is a spirit and the true worshipper dwells in His realm, in His atmosphere. The worshipper is where God is. The worshipper pursues the object of his worship where He dwells. He finds Him where He is most evident and where revelations about Him abound. He finds Him where He manifests Himself. He finds Him where His business lies. The true worshipper can genuinely worship because He is where God is found and known.
Worship in Truth
God operates on truth. Scriptures reveal how passionate God is for truth. He is against falsehood. He can't stand hypocrisy and lying. To worship in truth is two-fold as well. One, the worshipper is genuinely in the pursuit of worship and two, his worship is founded on Truth.
True worship is the opposite of lip worship. God rejects lip worship. In Isaiah 29:13, He says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught."
Hypocrisy in worship is such a serious matter to God that the Lord Jesus speaks out the same passage against it once more in Matthew 15:8,9. If we are to worship with trueness, our heart and life must remain in worship. Worship is not time bound, worship is a life. Further, we must worship from a heart and mind that knows the God we worship. Heartless worship is a travesty and so is mindless worship. We need to know the God we worship. We can't go on worshipping an unknown God. If we are to worship acceptably then we must know who He is, what He is passionate about, and what brings pleasure to His heart so that we can worship in a way that is acceptable before a great, powerful, awesome God.
Worship does not depend on a beat of music or the urgings of the emotions although such may be part of soulful, passionate worship. Worship is necessitated by the need of the worshipper to respond to his discovery of the magnificence of a loving, Creator God who he has the unearned privilege of calling Father.
True worship needs no external prompting like the urging of your buddies, the playing of your favorite song; no, true worship is prompted internally. It is your spirit responding to the Holy Spirit's revelation of God over your life and over all things. It is your mind understanding the complexities of God's nature and revering Him for all that your limited mind can and cannot understand. It is your heart marveling at the simplicity and pureness of God's love and goodness in your life. True worship is you rendering your song of gratitude and praise before a God whose identity you understand from Scriptures. And, true, reasonable worship is you offering to God the pursuit of holy and acceptable living before Him, the object of your worship. (Romans 12:1)
True worship can only come from a heart that is truly His. (2 Chron. 16:9). And know this, a heart that is fully His will continue to experience a life filled with the discovery of Him and the experience of blessedness from knowing Him.
top photo credit: danfador