Several times this week in my Bible study, I have had several of the same verses come up. I have learned that this is the “billboard” the Lord uses to draw my attention. “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24) How do we worship in the Spirit and in truth? “Since God is spirit, people must worship Him accurately (in truth) and in spirit (with their soul or heart), as opposed to relying on traditions, rituals, and physical locales.”–Got Questions?
To worship in spirit means to worship the Lord with the right heart and our worship must be genuine and true. As failed and me-centered humans, our natural inclination is to think of ourselves first. We can even do that in church where we enjoy the music and enjoy a sermon that lifts us up. But that is not worshiping the Lord in spirit and truth. In order to do that, we must FIRST look to the Lord. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10)
Whatever we do, we must do it with the “right heart”, out of love for our Lord and others. Otherwise, what we do and say is just noise, it is not proper worship. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:1-3)
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matt. 5:8) The pure in heart means “being single in mind or focus”. Those who are “pure in heart” prioritize knowing God, knowing what He wants them to do and how to live, and seeking to bring pleasure to Him. We can ask Him for help in doing that; He desires to help us. “Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Ps. 86:11)
When we are worshiping God in Spirit (with the right heart), we are zealously pursuing the Lord. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13) Worshiping Him with the right heart also means to worship with holiness. “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Ps 66:18) Sin quenches not only our prayer life, but also our worship.
God has given me a lot to pray about this morning: To ask Him to show me if there is cherished sin in my heart that I need to repent of, and ask Him to show me how to properly worship Him. Prayerfully, I will do as Habakkuk, “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what He will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” (Hab 2:1)