Worshipping God today may seem to be more recognised as largely synonymous to the singing of slow songs in a seemingly sombre manner but in fact, worshipping God is a lifestyle.
To give some context to this week’s “How To”, we explore the verses in John chapter 4 which show Jesus conversing with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well on Mount Gerizim (Jacob built this well and it still exists till this day apparently) and in their conversation He discloses to her His knowledge of her life and past i.e. that she has had many husbands and is currently living with a man who is not her husband. Then, she did something we ALL do when we are confronted with the uncomfortable truths of our lives: she changed the topic QUICK!
She started talking to Christ, so randomly, about how her Samaritan forefathers worshipped God on Mount Gerizim but the Jews claim that actually, Jerusalem – in a temple – is where God should be worshipped (she went with this comparison because Jesus is a Jew and technically on the opposing side of some ancient ‘beef’ between both religious bodies).
Of all the topics she could have picked for deflection sake?! Lol
Anyway, Jesus decided to school her a little (verse 21) seeing as she decided to take it there:
“Jesus replied, “Woman, believe Me, a time is coming [when God’s kingdom comes] when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” (verse 21 AMPC)
“A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers.
God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality).” (verses 23 to 24 AMPC)
He’s basically saying that the conundrum of where people think is best to worship God is inherently futile and largely inconsequential – I mean, you simply cannot confine an omnipresent God to a mountain top or to a temple. A mountain or a temple is good for orderliness and for believers to have a particular gathering place which is great but God is MUCH MORE interested in what goes on within us – in our hearts – than what we display on the outside.
No doubt that time, of which Jesus spake of, is already here! So how then can we worship God in spirit and truth?
1) Understand what it actually means “to worship”: As I mentioned earlier, worshipping God is a lifestyle. It can be expressed in various ways whether it be through song or words or actions but it ultimately boils down to the use of every aspect of our being to bring glory to God.
Worship, in this context, comes from the greek word proskuneo which means “to do reverence to” demonstrated by actions such as outstretched hands, kneeling, prostrating and all other necessary physical gestures of obeisance. This was relevant in the conversation Jesus had with the Samaritan woman because that was the context she presented it to Him with regards to what happened when people worshipped God in the temple or on the mountain.
So whilst this indicates that physical gestures do carry some weight in how we express ourselves to God, it is of no use or delight to God if all the best forms of paying obeisance to Him are excellently demonstrated with hearts that are sadly, miles away from having a deep and meaningful connection with His own heart. God has been telling this truth to many generations hence:
‘Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,
‘These people honor me with their lips,but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’
For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.”
Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition…‘
(Mark chapter 7 verses 6 to 9 NLT – Jesus’ words in red)
In essence, men have inserted their own ideals and traditions by teaching “man-made ideas as commands from God” thereby distorting God’s desire for relationship to mean behaviour modification as opposed to heart connection and transformation.
2) Worshipping In Spirit: Our dealings with God should largely be a matter of the heart. The Bible describes the heart as essentially our life source hence why we should guard it above all else (Proverbs chapter 4 verse 23). The heart, according to Strong’s Concordance, has a hebrew origin leb which means inner man, mind, will, heart. So the heart in this verse is a figurative expression used widely to mean feelings, will and even the intellect.
Worshipping God in Spirit is all about a heart connection with God, presenting every single bit of you from the inside out to Him i.e. there should be a passion for God within us expressed as love. If you think about how you might throw yourself into a cause you deem worthwhile with no inhibitions and with every single fibre of emotion you might have – that is how we worship God in Spirit. It’s almost so intangible that it is better experienced than it can actually be described in more tangible terms.
Another expression to this is in Matthew chapter 22 verse 37 to 38 (AMPC):
“...You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).
This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment.“
3) Worship In Truth: Worshipping God in truth in simple terms is “know Who you worship“.
In the same way, as a person, you’d want those close to you to know you as best as possible – that’s same with God. He wants you to know the facts of Who He is and to understand Him. He wants you to know His likes and dislikes as well as His plans and purposes. He wants you in His inner circle. He wants you to be able to explain to others Who it is you say you worship!
How do you get to know Him?
Read the Bible. No, study it like crazy! There’s no other book that describes the personality of God as the Bible does and in a way that resonates in our spirit when we encounter the inherent truth and fact of Who God is. The ‘truth’ aspect is simply saying that you cannot properly worship and have wholesome fellowship with a God you don’t even know and God wants us to set our hearts on knowing Him so that we can relate with Him much better.
That’s all lovelies!
Hope this post brings some enlightenment your way!