But the time is coming — indeed, it’s here now — when the true worshippers will worship the Father spiritually and truly, for these are the kind of people the Father wants worshipping him. God is spirit; and worshippers must worship him spiritually and truly.” (John 4:23,24).
Whenever I have attended a congregational worship service, be it in a Roman or in a Protestant congregation I find similar worship occurring. What I mean by this is everyone is following in the same manner, whatever the leader has commanded. No one is allowed to do their own worship within the four walls of the building, unless they are the only one in the hall or they have a leader who understands what Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus, is saying, as recorded in John 4:23,24.
I ask you to follow with me, as I unpack these two verses, so we may gain a clearer understanding of their meaning. Verse 23 lays out for us the groundwork for our understanding. Adonai Yeshua shares with us: But the time is coming — indeed, it’s here now — when the true worshippers will worship the Father spiritually and truly, for these are the kind of people the Father wants worshipping him. What does He mean by the phrase, when the true worshippers will worship the Father spiritually and truly? The answer is given to us in the first portion of the following verse – God is spirit. God is spirit has a very important message for us.
To be worshipping God, we need to be driven by the Spirit of God. Singing the same songs as everyone else, repeating the same liturgical chants, as everyone else, is not worshipping God in Spirit. This is merely reciting the same old. Actually, this is not worship at all.
Worship means to make a meaningful, heart-felt, emotional connection with our Sovereign, that shares the fullness of our hearts. Yes, I did write ‘emotional connection’. John Piper, in his 2011 book, Desiring God, wrote – But true worship comes from people who are deeply emotional and who love deep and sound doctrine.1 If we are not emotionally drawn to God, then what connection do we have with Him – only our intellect. There are no feelings attached to intellect; there are no real connections to our souls.
But worshipping through Spirit is not enough. We must also worship in Truth. Truth is found in a deep understanding of God’s Word, as we read it in His book, the Bible. Everything we read in Scripture follows two clear and unequivocal guidelines: 1. Each Book in the Bible is God-breathed. Each book has been inspired by the Spirit of God, even though each has been written by a human being. And 2. Every book in the Bible was written for a specific audience. There is a specific cultural context for each book of the Bible. In order to truly understand what the Bible is saying, we need to understand the cultural context of the people
for whom the book was originally written. Following these two guidelines will help ensure your understanding of God’s Word is true.
Although most spiritual hymns and songs help make our hearts soft and ready for a congregational service, they are not always based on Biblical fact. If our worship is focused only on the songs we sing with our congregations, then we are really not worshipping at all. A worship time is not designed merely to make us feel good; it is a time for us to share our hearts with God. Yes, we must worship in truth and there must be an emotional connection between us and God; however, songs alone will not bring that about.
For many hundreds of years, Jewish men have gathered together to worship God, with each man’s head covered with a prayer shawl, a tallit. This allows each man to pray individually to God, while still being in communion with others. There are not many of us today who engage in this form on communal worship. However, there are ways we may still worship God both in Spirit and in Truth.
Select times during the day for prayer. Messianic believers often select two to three times a day specifically for prayer. Either alone in their homes or with others, these times allow for a personal time of communion, meditation and reflection with and about God. Sitting quietly may lead to heart-felt sessions of prayer, during which the believer shares his heart with God. Or, this may be a time of silent reflection on what God has done for us throughout the day and listening for His still, small voice.
Be open to the movement of the Spirit within us. Allowing the Spirit of God within us to lead us into prayer, requires that we be open to His leading. The Spirit of God will not be able to move us, if we are constantly moving, talking, or focusing on things around us. We must allow Him the opportunity to guide our hearts and minds into heart-felt prayer.
Spend time in His Word. God’s Holy Word is Truth. By following the two guidelines I outlined earlier, we may engage in reading the Truth that emerges. Reading His Truth will lead us into times of prayer, deep, meaningful prayer. This is true worship.
CONSIDER: Are you engaged in Spirit-led, Truth-filled worship of God, every day? If your answer to this question is ‘no’, then I urge you to consider carefully the consequences of not allowing the Blessed Holy Spirit of the Living God, Who resides in each of His true believers, to guide you in prayerful worship.
ACTION: You might begin by selecting two times during the day, when you sit with your Bible. Open to one of the Psalms and begin reading, quietly. After each verse, focus on what it means to you, today. Sit still for a minute and wait for the Spirit to move you in prayer. If this does not happen, then go onto the next verse. Spend ten minutes, twice a day, longer, if you have the time, to commune with God’s Word and with God Himself.
PRAYER: Abba B’Shamayim, Heavenly Father, You are the only One who knows my heart, even better than I do. You are the Only One, who is able to understand
my concerns, trials and problems I face each day. I pray, Abba, You listen to my heart, that I share with You. I know You will answer each of my prayers, with the answer You want to give, if not the answer I want to receive. Thank You for listening to me and for guiding me in prayer. B’Shem Adonai Yeshua Mashichainu, in the Name of our Messiah, Lord Jesus, Amen.
May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you fully and richly.
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