Read His Words Before Ours!
Put the praise music on. Turn up the Christian playlist.
Raise your hands in church. Sway to the rhythm.
Close your eyes.
Worship. Adoration. Emotion.
Is it? Is this worship?
Cease the lashing with your tongue and voice.
Yank out the bitterness.
Pull up the cynicism and critical heart.
Tear down that wall of self-protection and distrust.
Throw out the pornography and lusts of your eyes.
Break down the idols you love to serve.
Your jealousy, your tendency to stir up chaos as you self-love, the way you chase yourself, the little groups of ladies you gossip with, that clique you form to keep others out, the disdain in your eyes, get rid of it all. Trash, it’s trash. (Galatians 5:19-20, my paraphrase)
“I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:21)
Oh yes, that list is full of worship. Worship of ourselves as ruler, insisting all others bow to our power. No room for any other to take up residency with us, let alone instead of us.
Worship cannot be about us.
It cannot be about what we do, what we bring, what we say, or the songs we choose.
It cannot be what we have made it, so what is it?
Jesus speaks over us, His voice insistent, strong, and full of truth,
willing our hearts to listen and hear His Word.
“But an hour is coming, and is now here…” (John 4:23)
It’s present. The time is now. No more waiting. We are not free to pretend we’ll get around to true worship “later,” when we have more time. We cannot claim ignorance. The hour is here.
“… when the true worshipers…” (John 4:23)
The line of distinction is a real thing. There is an actual judgment call the Lord God is righteous to make. True worshippers vs everyone else. Faith vs Fake.
“… will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23)
Here’s the identifier for the true and the faithful worshippers. It’s found in Spirit and Truth.
What is flesh cannot beget what is Spirit. Only Spirit births what is spirit.
There are no true worshippers who are not born of Spirit. None. Zero. Zilch.
Sure, we can fake it, follow the motions, lift our hands, close our eyes, and sway to the rhythm, fooling our neighbor and ourselves.
But if our hearts are not re-birthed from the Spirit of the Living God,
Jesus is abundantly clear,
we are not true worshippers.
Is there a prerequisite for worship?
Full surrender to the One who died for us, taking our punishment for sin upon Himself. He, who is blameless and righteous, willingly and humbly took upon Himself our long list of hideous sins that we might be whole, forgiven, and free to worship Him in Spirit.
Birthed by His Spirit,
sealed by His Spirit,
taught by His Spirit,
we who once were dead in our sin, are now awakened to
worship Him because of the Spirit alive within us who cries out, “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:6)
The One God, in whom no deceit is found (1 Peter 2:22), births worshippers who offer their surrender in truth. There is no place for lies here in the sacred space of holy adoration.
Emotion? Passion? Tears? Rhythm? Hands in the air? Prostrate on the ground?
These are not the identifiers of true worship, my precious sister.
These are not required by our God.
When we base the litmus test of true worship on the level of our emotional connection or the language of our bodies, we have removed ourselves from the realm of true worship.
We have added performance stipulations Christ never intended.
Angry? Celebrating? Hurt? Happy? Alone? Joyful? Afraid? Peaceful?
Truth, bring the truth of your real, honest, heart condition. Fling the masks far from you, burn them in the blaze of sacrificial offering. Offer the fullness of your honesty with your sacrifice of praise, realizing anew the beauty of the gospel. Here in this place of true worship, we bring our mess, confident we will be forgiven and set free in ever-deepening ways because of the very truth of the Christ Whom we worship.
Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. (John 4:23)
His Spirit draws us in, nearer to His consuming fire, closer so we can breathe in the familiar scent of the One our hearts blessedly call Father.
Here we are home, welcomed in the embrace of Abba.
Here we are made whole.
Here we are treasured children and beloved daughters.
Here we are known.
Here we lay down ourselves for the kindest, gentlest Daddy who holds our hands, our hearts, and our lives.
Here, we slip blissfully into true worship.
“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)
Amen and Amen. May our hearts ever resound with this truth as our lives are set ablaze with the evidence of our offering of true worship born of Spirit and declared with truth.
How’s your worship?
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!