True worshippers worship God in spirit & in truth… John 4:24
Worship begins with our HEART
The word “spirit” in Jn 4:24 is not referring to the Holy Spirit – it has to do with your heart (emotions, feelings, affections). Worship is extravagant LOVE (meaning: ‘to kiss at’). We love Him because He first loved us (1 Jn 4:19) – our love is both responsive and reflective. Mark 12:30 says God gave us emotions to use for His glory – just like He gave you a body and mind.
Worship is INCLUSIVE, not exclusive. I say this because so many people are so definitive of the ‘How’s’ / ‘How-Not-To’s.’ The book of Psalms mentions many ways to worship God but these are in no way the boundaries of true worship. It is not limited to – but starting with… *Posture: kneel, on face, standing upright, dancing; *Music: only 10 instruments of praise are listed in Psalms; *Voice: singing, shouting; *Hands: raised, clapping… I’ve asked this before, but what if an alien read the Bible and saw your church & a mosque thru the windows… which would he judge is more biblical by the way we worship? Also – Sunday is just one day, 11-12 is just one hour… worship must be a lifestyle!
It’s possible to worship God in VAIN (Matt. 15:8-9). How? Heartless worship – Engaged mouth, disengaged emotions. But what if you don’t feel anything? Can’t just force the emotions… can you? No. The only thing that moves the heart is a greater pleasure (compare late-life biographies of Lewis / Darwin). Usually the joy/romance fades over time – thru external forces (not enough alone time).
#1 Enemy of Worship: sense of DUTY; ignoring the PRIZE. Heb 11:6 says faith is believing God is & coming to Him for reward. It’s not wrong to be motivated by desire / drive / delight (Ps 37:4).
Worship must include our HONESTY
The “truth” mentioned in Jn 4:24 isn’t God’s truth – it’s yours. It’s being truthful & genuine about your own condition. Worshiping God without compulsion or facade. Here are 3 Stages of Honesty in our Worship: **find where you are**
A. WHY? – barrenness / darkness / emptiness – Ps. 73:21-22
We can find ourselves hopelessly discouraged & depressed, being in a place w/o a song (like when the Jews hung their harps in the willows). Christ endured this place for 3 hours… alone. Being honest means that we might have to repent, accept responsibility.
B. WHEN? – longing / desire / confusion – Ps. 42:5
Being honest means we might have to keep waiting and dealing w/ heartache… Most of Psalms written from this stage! Jesus said that those who hunger & thirst for righteousness will be fed.
C. WOW! – gratitude / wonder / satisfaction – Ps. 63:5
These moments are more rare than we’d like – but the possibility of another fuels us on to endure the first two stages.