John 4: 23-24 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
God calls us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. But what does this mean? What is worship really all about? Is worship us responding to God or do we worship Him in order to receive a response or blessings in return? The podcast http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2012/05/20/whi-1102-the-worship-experience/ touched base on many of these topics.
One thing mentioned in the podcast was that people often worship for selfish reasons- they worship in order to “feel” something from God or with the expectation of receiving blessings as a reward for their worship. This view of worship is warped, because human emotions are easily influenced by things other than God, and can even be an obstruction from truly worshiping “in spirit and in truth”. Even more than that, worship is simply not about how we feel. Sometimes when I go to worship the Lord, I really don’t feel like it right off the bat. But often, these are the times when I end up having the most powerful encounters with God because my lack of desire to worship is caused by something placed in between God and I by the devil- something I need to surrender to Him. When I make this surrender, the block is torn away and I can feel the presence of the Lord (the Spirit) engulf me as I allow myself to be poured out to Him. However, these incredible encounters would not occur if I did not first sacrifice whatever was holding me back. People cannot expect to just go to church and sing the songs and get all these great feelings when they are not truly surrendering themselves to Him. This goes back to the verse.. when we truly sacrifice ourselves to God, The Spirit in our worship, we are then in the Spirit and often feel His presence.
That brings me to my next point. It seemed to me that overall, the men in the podcast believe that the ultimate purpose of worship is all about giving to God- it’s our sacrifice to Him. And while I agree that worship is an act of sacrifice to God, this is not where it ends. I believe worship in itself is giving ourselves and our praises to God, but in the process He meets with us, which is rewarding for us as well, and it renews and refreshes our spirit. Personally, when I worship God, I thank Him for the sacrifice He made, forgiving me for my sins and being the loving God that He is. It’s in these times of worship that I feel closest to Him and He reminds me that He’s washed me clean. Worship is an intimate moment in my passionate love relationship with God that involves first giving my everything to God and praising him for who He is, followed by Him in turn reminding me how precious I am to Him and washing me in His love. Just as in any relationship, it is not a one-way street either way.. One lover would not just stand emotionless when their beloved is pouring out their love and affection upon them. In this same way, how can we settle for half-heartedly worshiping our Savior, who loves us so much more than anyone else could ever even come close to? God calls us all worship Him “in spirit and in truth”, and rejoices when we respond to this call, in turn pouring out his love to us through His Spirit.
Revelation 22:17 says “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” I feel that this verse relates perfectly back to worshiping Him in spirit and in truth as we are called to (“come!”). True worship refreshes our soul with the “free gift of the water of life”. In our act of surrender to The Spirit; in us answering His call, He comes as well, and both He and the Bride (us) are blessed by these pure and powerful times of worship.