Worshiping God in “Spirit and Truth”
Have you ever wondered what the Apostle John meant by saying we should worship God in “Spirit and Truth”?
There can be some controversy about what it means to worship in Spirit, even among the body. Whether we are speaking about worshiping in “freedom” or worshiping in tongues, or worshiping God with a real spirit of humility and repentance, I think we can all agree that “worshiping in Spirit” can be a personal journey where we never stop learning how to worship God with more of our being.
That’s a topic I could probably write a book about, but for now I will briefly say that in my journey to learn to worship God deeper, one of the greatest ways I found to help me was in asking the Holy Spirit to help me. There was a time earlier in my life, I was a devoted Christian spending time in prayer and scripture daily, yet I felt noticeably distant from God.
I believe there is a time in our life, when the ‘wooing” of God’s love for us becomes stronger and stronger, as He is calling us to greater fellowship with Himself. Perhaps it’s not even a greater intensity of God’s “wooing” that we begin to notice as much as it is about the Holy Spirit making our heart more sensitive to His calling. It is a beautiful and personal thing the way God gently turns our cold hearts, back to Him for greater relationship! It is at that time, we somehow become more self-conscious of the actual distance between our hearts and God’s heart, and our spirit begins to groan for a closer relationship with God. I believe it is at this point in many of our lives, that we have reached a critical “cross-road” that determines whether we will follow God’s gentle voice, into the destiny He has called for each of us.
It was at this time in my life, where I could no longer ignore “love’s call” for more of God in me, so I yet again surrendered part of my selfish nature, and I asked the Holy Spirit to transform my heart into a heart of worship for God. I had no idea how that could happen, but I did know that King David had a great heart for God. So I prayed the simple prayer “Holy Spirit, please give me the heart of David, that I may worship You/God/Jesus, greater.
Each day, I prayed that prayer, seeking to worship and know God greater, while at the same time, reading many of the Psalms David had written. Wouldn’t you know, in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, I started to know and love God so much greater. My heart began to grow exponentially and I was able to worship God like never before. It’s the greatest prayer I ever prayed! The Holy Spirit not only answered that prayer but He also patiently and tenderly began to open my heart to God revealing His love like I had never known.
The process lasted about 18 months, and by the end the joy began to flow from my heart literally like “rivers of living water” and I loved God like I never thought possible.If I am honest, I have to admit that for a short time, I tried to take the credit for getting to this “greater place of love”, thinking it was my own actions and obedience that got me there, but the truth is, not only was it the Holy Spirit that taught me but it was also the relentless call from God, wooing me with His great love, that made me seek Him for more of that love. The truth is, even my desire to love Him more comes from my creator and not from me….I can not take the credit, it is all From God, He really is everything to us!!.
Today, I am so grateful for that prayer and all I can say is THANK YOU Holy Spirit, and thanks be to God for gift of the teaching of the Holy Spirit which is from God on the throne himself. As a bonus, I have since come to know the Holy Spirit as my greatest companion and friend….. A triple blessing from the original prayer! God is so good to us when we seek Him!
Ever since then,God has placed such a desire in my Spirit to worship God deeper and deeper, and now my spirit cries out to Him day and night looking to draw even closer to Him each day, looking to praise Him more, and looking for greater communion with His nature. Through the gift of that desire God placed in me (not by my weak attempts), I’ve come to better understand what it means to worship Him in Spirit. The Holy Spirit Himself bears witness to this in us, and is indeed our great counselor who reveals the deeper things of God- the Spirit of the Father and the Son. Through a hungry heart, through fervent prayer, through purity, through tongues, and through “pressing in” during worship music, we learn to “worship God in Spirit” and I believe the process never ends!
OK so now let’s talk about “worshiping God in Truth”, that part puzzled me for many years up until early 2013. But this time, the Holy Spirit stepped in dramatically during a deep prayer time and He showed me revelations of what it means to “worship God in Truth”.
The knowledge was very profound, yet so simple to me once revealed. Isn’t it amazing just how much information the Holy Spirit can communicate in a single moment of revelation!
When the Holy Spirit reveals truth about scripture to us, what were a few “lifeless words” of text a moment earlier, can often explode in meaning and become volumes of truth revealed to our spirit in a second! Oh how awesome is the Holy Spirit when He makes the word of God comes alive! It’s almost like God is putting a “spiritual flashlight” on the words, making them pop off the pages!
Well, that’s the cool part, but have you ever tried to explain something God just revealed to you, which makes total sense to you in your spirit, yet translating the simplicity of what God just showed you, is a bit like translating a foreign language?? If you have, you know that the bridge between Spirit and intellect can sometimes be a long road to intelligent translation making us at times sound silly when trying to describe the glory of what we’ve been shown! That said, here’s my attempt to translate what the Holy Spirit showed me from John 4 regarding “worshiping God in truth“.
The Holy Spirit showed me that those who are caught up in ritualistic performances of worship, or who are simply “checking off the box” of attending church, or performing “holy habits” like prayer, fasting, reading scripture, etc. and doing so as just another “task to complete”, who are not pursuing the Lord with their full “true” hearts are NOT worshiping God in “truth”. It’s really pretty simple when we boil it down to its true essence.
God sincerely wants us to worship him with our hearts, our “true hearts”, and nothing less than All of our hearts, filled with a pure desire for Him alone.
He was showing me that if we want to really worship Him in a way that is pleasing Him, then we must lay everything else aside; lay down our selfishness, our lusts, our worries, our “to-do-list”, our bitterness, everything but our true hearts, and worship as the book of John 4:24
states……. “those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
For to worship him out of ritualism, guilt, duty, or task is not worshiping him of a pure heart and this is not worshiping Him in “truth”.
Anything less than worshiping Him from the heart of a real desire for Him, is not of “truth”, but is a lie and a travesty to Him that falls short of His desire for us to fellowship deeply with Him. Approaching Him with all our preoccupations ruling over us, only thwarts His attempt to reveal how much He really loves us, and falls terribly short of our responsibility in this divine “relationship”, and falls short of the full Glory and reverence he deserves from our worship. Trying harder is not the answer either, for it is not through our deeds that we worship Him in truth, but through a total surrender of our hearts, to His call.
In a sense, prayers that come from duty, or guilt, or a legalistic spirit, are only half-hearted attempts by our flesh to communicate with God, and because they lack the substance of truth, they often have little power in the spirit realm to connect with God, simply because the half-hearted intent behind such worship has little true substance. Such attempts are not the prayers of “a righteous man” who longs for God’s will and righteousness, but are the prayers of someone who has been choked out by the worries of the world, been made spiritually numb by the enemy, and/or are blindly following the empty demands of “religion”. Such prayers often come from a heart hardened by the world, in desperate need of a renewed spirit that only true desire and true worship towards God can change. We all desperately need to fight for that time with Him to renew us daily. We all desperately need to surrender daily, asking for the Holy Spirit to guide is into deeper fellowship until the day arrives when we are fully surrendered to worshiping Him with our full heart, fueled by a true love for our creator. How do I know these truths? Because I fought and fight these same battles as every person born in the flesh has to battle.
Anything less than a pure devotion from our heart, to me seems unworthy of The One Living God of the universe, and such attempts are empty of worshiping in real “truth” spoken of in John 4.
Thankfully, He is filled with mercy and patience, never gives up on us, and relentlessly pursues our hearts despite at times, our weak attempts to worship Him greater in truth.
But make no mistake, He is a jealous God who wants All our heart in the spirit of “true” worship and will not settle for divided devotion. He will not relent because His love is so great. If we only understood that He has so much for us to inherit and if we will only do our part, and seek Him with all we have, we would understand why He is worth the time and effort. If we surrender, we find eternal treasure that money can not buy, we find true eternal love.
I think learning to worship God in truth gets easier with time, but I don’t think our flesh will ever make it easy for each of us until we have a renewed body in heaven. Until then I believe we each need to fight for and protect the very relationship with God which is doing a great work in each of us. How many times do we all fall short because life gets in the way, and “business” dilutes our desire to draw close to Him? How often do we allow the glitz and glamor of tv, hobbies, and selfish desires get in the way and steal our “truth” in worshiping Him? How often do we collapse from the exhaustion of life’s troubles not realizing we are just one inch away from being filled with the revelation of His Glory if we could only press past our trouble to find Him and to worship Him in truth?
For most of us, too many times for certain. Personally, I feel like I have wasted so many years not knowing just how much of God’s love and glory, there is/was for me to experience here today, not some day in the future in heaven. If I could only have recognize my poverty in Spirit, then I believe I would have worked harder to become “rich in His spirit” so that I would understand what it means in “Blessed are the poor in spirit” as Jesus stated (Matt 5:3). Recognizing our poverty is the first step of knowing how much we need God, and the start of setting our sights to become richer in God’s love. If I had only stopped allowing myself to be deceived by the world, thinking I was already rich by my own means, then I think I would have tried harder to set aside the things of the world, started sooner in life, and run hard with more conviction to become “rich” in the Kingdom by worshiping Him more in truth.
God longs for us to seek him and for us to desire Him with all our hearts, our true hearts. He has such love and affection for us His children, and He deeply desires us to fellowship with Him deeply in truth every day. He is in fact, a God of relationship just as the “Trinity” itself proves this fact
Yet let us not be fooled, there is such a battle that rages around us trying to deny us of that truth. Satan is the great deceiver who works day and night to keep us from worshiping God in truth. We must become more vigilant and recognize the enemy works hard to deter us, and we must do better to resist such temptations of the flesh that can deter us from greater fellowship and time with our Lord.
God have mercy, how can any of us find the strength to overcome such a battle for our souls? The truth is we can not! But take heart! Knowing we do not need to be poor in spirit is the first step to finding our strength. Understanding we do not overcome our poverty alone, we need Him in our weakness and in God’s great mercy, He has given us the most powerful spiritual advocate to help us…. The Person of The Holy Spirit!!!!!! He is the source of our strength and our teacher who reveals Christ and the Kingdom, and God’s desires for us.
If we will only seek Him, spend time with Him in the secret place, and believe by faith that He will reveal Himself, then He gives us understanding in everything we need to really worship God in “truth” and Spirit. He is the great counselor who delights in showing us the Glory of the Son Jesus and His Father.
It is only through relationship, conversation, fellowship and seeking counseling, all with the Holy Spirit, that we can draw close to Jesus and the amazing God of the universe, and come to know the riches of His Son’s Glory as He rewards us and pours them out upon us from that time spent in fellowship with Him.
When we run the race to win, when we seek first the Kingdom of God, when we place God first, when we seek and follow the Holy Spirit who abides deep inside us, we find that we finally encounter our great God as He in turn draws near to us.
Then we quickly learn that in just one experience of God’s glorious presence in “truth”, we become so shaken within that we can never again thirst of those things of this world which all fall short of Gods Glory and riches!! From that time on we strive for more of that which He has promised to us His Children, for us to claim here and now- oh what an inheritance He has given us to continuously discover daily, through fellowship with Him and in Him, when we can learn to worship Him in Truth!
As children who were born into darkness but now see the light, may we strive to worship Him greater, may we overcome the world, and may we claim all the treasures He offers, and give thanks for the beauty of His Son revealed to us today and each day of our walks.
May we receive all He has for us and forever praise the name of Jesus for the high price He paid for you and me, for us to be called children of the most high God…..
May we each seek Him in pure ”truth”!