When it comes down to worshiping, it’s very easy for many people’s minds to run to singing songs and hymns, clapping hands, lifting hands, and dancing to God, but worshiping God is not limited only to these things. Evidently, these things mentioned previously are an integral part of worshiping God, but in order for worship to be addressed acceptably there is something far deeper and more sacrificial than just doing any of these things mentioned earlier that must be done. While praise is associated with thanksgiving because of what God has done on our behalf; worship by itself has to do with complete submission to God because of whom He is to us.
God as the One making the rules has laid out how people can worship Him in the beauty of holiness (Psalm 96:9). The truth is that pleasing God is dependent entirely upon our willingness to forsake our own ways of doing things by embracing His ways. It’s important to realize that the Christian life by itself is a life which is based solely on worship.
God can’t be worshiped according to what we think is the right way to worship Him. That kind of worship is totally unacceptable to God; consequently, it will be rejected by God right on the spot. Here’s the type of worship that He is seeking from us.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24).
It’s quite obvious in this passage of scripture that Jesus has stated that God’s worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. This command is an absolute command by nature; therefore, there’s no way around. It has to be done precisely how it’s prescribed. God by nature is an absolute God, so anything required by Him has to be expressed in a complete manner. There can be nothing left out, particularly on purpose or negligently.
It’s absolutely safe to conclude that’s the only way worship can be offered to God acceptably. Genuine worship takes place when we willingly choose to submit ourselves to the authority of His Word, which is the very embodiment of who God is as well as what He wants us to do. Then from that point, He will enable us to develop characteristics that will empower us to worship Him the right way. To sum it up, it all starts off with submission to God. The question is what does it truly mean to worship God in spirit and truth?
Upon reexamining thoroughly the same statement made by Jesus in (John 4:23-24), we can see that the conjunction “and” is used in order to connect both spirit as well as truth. The conjunction “and” is equivalent to addition, so if two things are required in order to get a satisfactory result, there will always be an insufficiency if either one of them is missing. This clearly indicates that both spirit and truth have to be the cornerstone of our worship to God.
Worshiping God in Spirit
Spirit implies an attitude, mood, or disposition, which deals precisely with engaging the whole heart and mind during the process. In other words, our worship must come from the bottom of our hearts as a result of our love for God. Shockingly, our love for God means everything because it’s the very thing that compels us to do things that will bring great pleasure to Him.
When thinking about our daily responsibilities to God, we should always look at it from this perspective: we obey God not just because we’re obligated to do so, but we do that because of our love for Him in response to His unconditional love for us.
Truthfully, there has to be a better reason other than the obligation that we have to remain obedient to God. The reason is that we really need something powerful and transcendent intended to enable us to worship and serve God in a much more meaningful and interactive fashion. We have to respond to God with a mindset that shows expressly that we love Him. As always stated, it’s quite interesting that Jesus happens to measure our love for Him only on the ground of our obedience to Him (John 14:15).
Our love for God must be very strong and deep, and it has to come from our whole being. Jesus has taught us how to love God in these two following scriptures (Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27). Bear in mind, love is not based solely on the kind words that we’re saying out of our lips. Instead, it’s based on the types of sacrifices that we’re willing to make in order to please the person whom we say we love or care about.
Our love for God must be sacrificial love. Our genuine love for God will cause us to obey God reverently. It will cause us to develop reverential fear for the Lord. Lastly, our love for Him will impel us to go extra miles or to strive to please Him in everything. Christ must become the centerpiece of our lives, so everything we’re doing must revolve around our Savior and Lord.
Worship is an act that must supersede our human feelings as well as our emotions because they can be quite deceptive. Furthermore, worship is an act that urges us to enter into a dimension deeper and greater than ourselves where we can no longer think about ourselves but to think about whom God is and what He has done for us that has given us that awesome privilege to be able to address worship to Him.
Worship is a moment where we humble ourselves to Him in the sense that we are who we are today not because of what we’ve done in His sight but because of what He has done on the basis of whom He is. The type of worship that God demands is the prostration of our whole being before Him in humble and contrite submission. We have to acknowledge His greatness, goodness, and faithfulness. And we have to constantly reminding ourselves that He’s there with us.
Worshiping God in Truth
The truth that we learn about God through His Word is undoubtedly the foundation of our worship to Him. Remember that we’re being led, sustained, encouraged, strengthened, guarded, and so forth by the truth found in His Word. God is truth by nature, so everything that He wants from us has to be offered with a sincere and pure heart.
Alternatively, it has to be offered to Him in such a way that’s consistent with who He really is. God through His Word has revealed to us His holiness standard concerning how we are to live our lives. Through that Word which is truth (John 17:17, Psalm 119:160), we learn so many things about Him, how He operates, salvation through Christ, His ways, along with His will and purpose for our lives. Let’s consider this Scripture verse below.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him (Romans 12:1).
It’s clear that genuine worship starts with our commitment to God to live holy lives. Living holy lives can be summed up by forsaking everything unholy that we used to indulge in prior to being saved. The bottom line is that if we’re living in such a way contrary to how we’re supposed to live; our worship to God is unacceptable, an abomination, and an act of mockery to Him. The reason is that we’re trying to do something that has to be offered in a godly fashion through an ungodly manner. Consequently, that’s repugnant unto God.
Our level of worship or the quality of our worship will be determined by the amount of truth that we know about God. Thereby, the more we know God, the better and deeper our worship will be. The more we know God, the more intimate our relationship with Him will be. The more intimate and closer we get to God, the more sensitive and responsive we’ll become to Him along with everything deemed precious to Him.
Worshiping God through the means of total surrender enables us to take on His character. From that moment, we love what He loves and hate intensely what He hates. True worship also enables us to develop qualities such as tenderness, justice, righteousness, purity, forgiveness, kindness, self-control, and love.
In short, to sum up everything that has been said in this teaching, worshiping in spirit deals with complete involvement of the heart and mind in the process. Moreover, worshiping God in truth implies doing it according to what God has prescribed in His Word. Thus, both must be combined together in order to generate a worship that’s agreeable, acceptable, and pleasing to God.
God is expecting all of us as His children to worship Him that way. One of the benefits that worshiping God has offered us is that it gives us the opportunity to focus entirely on whom God is and what He is able to do instead of allowing the severity of life’s issues to hold our thinking hostage.