Worship in truth pt.2
Do we really worship? It has been a question I have asked myself many times. Especially when I read Jesus’ comments in Matthew 15:8-9 NLV “These people show respect to Me with their mouth, but their heart is far from Me. Their worship of Me is worth nothing.” When I worship I never want God to say that it has been worthless. And yet I feel that much of what we do in churches today is worthless in God’s eyes. We call it worship but our lives are lived for ourselves.
I once heard someone define praise as the fast songs we sing, and worship was the slow songs. But I knew it had to be more than that. Worship cannot just be a song we sing. And God is actively looking for people who will worship Him. “But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now–when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24 NLT
Last post I shared that worshiping in truth meant that we need to see God for who He really is and not for who we want Him to be. We have been trying to force God into our understanding for a very long time. One of the reasons Jesus wasn’t accepted by many of the Jews and the Pharisees and religious leaders was that He didn’t come as they expected or wanted Him to. Even as Jesus was about to be taken into heaven after being raised from the dead the disciples were still trying. They said “So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” They we still trying to fit God into their expectations after all they had seen and experienced living and walking with Jesus and seeing Him raised.
We need to let God be God, and worship Him as He is not for who we think He should be. But worshiping in truth also means that our words and our lives should be in agreement. We cannot sing “let your glory fall in this room, and let it go forth from here to the nations” if we are unwilling to get a passport and be ready to travel. Worshiping in truth means that the words we say and sing relate to the life we live every day.
To many people stand in churches and sing words that they never think about. It is just what Christians do. We live in a time where Christians are not Christians. We are “Christian Atheists” to borrow from Craig Groeschel. We talk like God exists, and live like He doesn’t. It is important that we change this. For our worship to be true it must come from our hearts, and not be just words we say. It must come from a live that is spent living out daily the words we sing and say. This is the kind of worship God is actively seeking. He isn’t looking for perfection, just integrity.
The profession of our lips needs to be demonstrated in the way we talk and live. And our lives need to show a dependence on and a submission to the God we say we serve. Otherwise our worship is without value.
Worship in truth – pt 1
Worship is powerful when we get it right. God’s presence fills our lives and we come to know Him deeper and deeper. The problems we face surrender to the sovereignty of who He is and His care and provision for us. Worship allows us to refocus ourselves from trying to do things our way, and brings us again to the place where we submit and align ourselves again to His hand and plans. At least when we get it right it does.
“But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24 NLT
Every time I have read these verses I have asked how do we worship in Spirit and in truth? Worshiping in truth takes on two facets. The first is that we must worship God for who He really is. So many people talk about God in our world. We have people who talk about a God who is not the God revealed in scripture. There are so many ideas put forward in our day that have nothing to do with God at all. God is not a vengeful judge. And He is not an all accepting loving deity with no expectations either. He isn’t a faceless far off uninvolved substance drifting in space.
When we worship we need to come to a place where we are willing to yield to God and let Him describe Himself. We can find who God is in scripture. Jesus came to earth to show the Father to us. Jesus said “To see me is to see the Father.” John 14:9 MSG. We can read how Jesus interacted with people on earth and see how He lived. We can learn of God in our relationship with Him. Jesus states in John 17:3 “all who receive Me will experience everlasting life, a new intimate relationship with You (the one True God) and Jesus the Anointed (the One You have sent)” Voice.
If we are willing to yield our expectations and understandings about God and allow Him to speak to us He will bring us into new understanding of who He really is. All through scripture God revealed Himself to people and caused their understanding of Him to deepen and grow. Every time God named Himself in scripture it was to describe His nature to people and He is still doing that today. But we have to be willing to let go of our current understanding.
If we refuse to let go of our understanding of God as a vengeful judge ready to jump on you every time you do something wrong you will never be able to see the loving caring side of God who deeply desires to free you and care for your every need. If you simply see God as a big bully in the sky, you will never come to understand God as your staunch defender. So much of what we see about God has little to do with who God truly is. And we can never worship God for who He is if we are unwilling to let go of our current understanding.
God is actively seeking those who are willing to worship Him in truth. Who will let Him reveal Himself to them. It is up to us to be willing to open our hearts to receive what He is so willing to share
Worship. It is a word that separates many people. For most people it defines a style of music that is heard in church. And the style you prefer causes you to join together with people who agree with you, and separates you from those who disagree. We have fights over contemporary music vs hymns. We argue over instruments and how many people should be in the band. And all the while no one stops to wonder “is this worship?”
We focus on the music, and how it makes us feel and we forget that worship has nothing at all to do with us at all. God is calling us back to the true nature of worship again, and if we get it right we won’t worry at all about what type of music is playing. We are called to “worship in spirit and in truth” John 4:24 And worship that God seeks starts not with the music we sing, but with the heart we sing it with. Worship begins in the heart of the worshipper. The problem with our focus is that it remains on us. We look for songs and music that make us feel good and fit our personality. If we like fast tempos and a hard beat we love contemorary rock. If we like quiet we prefer thoughtful contemplative music.
But the fact remains that we are the focus of our worship. We cover our selfish nature by making the subject about God, but we sing and dance for ourselves. For most of us worship remains about what we want and has little to do with what God wants. We “honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me” Matthew 15:8 If all we have is the music we have missed completely the point of worship.
Worship is about giving awe, respect and value to someone. It starts with an attitude and a heart posture of submission. We cannot worship someone we feel superior to. As soon as we figure we know better than God about something we remove ourselves from a place of worship to lordship. As soon as what God wants for us becomes a suggestion we remove our ability to worship Him; because worship by it’s very nature means we bring ourselves under and submit to someone. If we don’t return to making Jesus our Lord, and bringing our whole life under His control we will never be able to worship Him at all. Worship must begin with surrender and exalt God for who He is which means He is God and we are not.