“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when 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 4:24-24 [emphasis added]
What does it mean to worship in ‘truth?’
What does it mean to worship in ‘spirit?’
Worshipping in Truth:
Worshipping in ‘truth’ is understanding that God is deserving of worship. It is worshipping God for who he is and what he has done. Those who profess to be followers of Jesus worship God for the love and faithfulness he shows us. We worship Him for the gift of salvation he provided when we were undeserving, rebellious, and running from him. We worship him as the God who is all-powerful and all knowing, but still close enough to be called our father.
Worshipping in Spirit:
One concept must be understood about Christianity to provide clarity as to the meaning of worshipping in spirit…
Western civilization believes, whether consciously or in behavior, that body and spirit are unrelated. You can behave however you like with your body, but still be spiritually ‘centered’ or ‘pure.’ Christianity does not teach this. Christianity teaches that spirit and body are intertwined, that your physical behavior is a direct reaction to your spiritual condition. So, anything that is said regarding body has implications for spirit, and spiritual direction has physical implications.
“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.”
Worship in ‘spirit’ is the act of submitting our whole self, our entire being, to God’s will and becoming more like him.
The second verse in this scripture even tells us how to do that:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Worshipping in Spirit and Truth:
According to Christianity, true worship is the act of worshipping in both spirit and in truth… not one or the other. We recognize that God is holy, then we strive to become more like him.
So how does this relate to my initial point of “Worship Should Produce [something]?”
If we are praising God and becoming more like Jesus, then we have no choice but to act. Jesus did not come into the world to sit around and meditate; he came for a purpose. When Jesus began his ministry, he announced that God’s kingdom was being established on earth.
Simply worshipping God for who he is does not satisfy the type of worship Jesus taught. Since Christians claim to be followers of Jesus, then to worship as such is a waste of time. Truly recognizing who God is in worship only results in submission or rejection. Submission is when our worship inspires change; rejection is when we remain unchanged (regardless of whether or not we ‘worship’)
Worship should produce something, but what is that something? It is a blank for you to fill in depending on where you are in your spiritual journey as it relates to Christ. It might mean that you need to take that initial step of truly committing to making him ruler of your very existence. Perhaps it means you should act on something. The point is that change should result from your worship.
If your worship does not produce anything, then it is merely false worship that is not considered acceptable to God.
“These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
Since Christianity is a religion that stands out from the others and is not a rules-based faith, then we can’t pretend like simply going to church and cleaning up our actions is what God is after.
God is after our heart. When he captures that, he knows the rest will fall in line. After all, we do all kinds of things for those we love.
Don’t let your worship be fake. Allow it to move you to action.
Worship in a way that produces [something].