John 4:24 – “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
John 4:22 – “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
John 4:23 – “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
What does it mean to worship in Spirit and Truth?
You worship what you do not know. Do you really know what or whom you worship? Or do you think singing a song emotionally is worship? Whilst raising your arms up, singing songs emotionally with lyrics that sound Christian, even with tears rolling down your cheeks can sometimes be signs of a true worshipper, they are not necessarily evidence of true worship.
I’ve seen people cry emotionally and even fall unconscious at a Michael Jackson concert too. In the earlier days, it used to be the same at some of Elvis Presley’s concerts. Those could be signs of a true fanatic or evidence of sheer insanity. And there are others who genuinely love the music and the atmosphere, the lyrics, and the gyrating tunes. All kinds of people, fanatic, insane or otherwise, enjoyed the Michael Jackson concert without really “knowing” Michael himself. Neither did they know Michael, nor did Michael know them, and probably didn’t care either. Likewise, there are many today who literally worship movie stars, singers, and sports celebrities or at the least “adore” them without knowing them in person.
Similarly, there are many “Christians” who praise, shout, dance, and applaud Jesus for various reasons. Some because of the atmosphere, lighting, sound, and the performance of the band. And some others because they saw a sign or a miracle happen or possibly they themselves got healed of sickness. Then there are some others who join in the celebration because everyone else in the building is doing it and they just want to impress others. But then there are some others who worship because they really know their God. They know Him intimately and personally. They know Him enough to confidently say that they talk to Him every day. They know He listens. They hear the loving voice of their God talking back to them through the scriptures. Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice” and they follow Me. Those who worship Him in Spirit and truth know Him and He knows them. Our Father God seeks such people to be His worshipers.
In John 4:23, Jesus mentions the term “true worshipers”. This implies there are fake ones. The Father in heaven seeks true worshipers who worship in Spirit and in truth. The fake ones are in danger of being told, “I never knew you, depart from Me“.
When we sing and praise and worship what we do not know, that is not really worship. Many idol worshipers do that. But if you do know Him intimately, you cannot help but praise and worship Him. You suddenly realize there’s not much you can do but worship His Majesty. He is awesome. He is so Majestic. He is so merciful and loving. He is so compassionate. He is so forgiving and gentle. He is kind. He is full of wisdom and power.
Have you considered Him? Have you sat back and thought “Why did Jesus do what He did for me?” Who am I that He should care for me? He didn’t have to. He is God. He could have easily wiped us out of the planet like we wipe a whiteboard clean and started all over. But that would go against His nature. He is a God of love. Perfect love.
When I got saved, I was transformed inwardly immediately, but I wasn’t perfect. My desires had changed. I began to hate all the worldly pleasures which I thought were normal. Sin was magnified in my eyes, and I hated sin just as He did. I began to love godliness, holiness, and I genuinely wanted to walk in obedience to God’s word, but I soon realized I couldn’t. I was not blind anymore. I was able to “see” the sinful nature in me and the power it had over me. I began to loathe the sin in me. I could see Him as a Holy God and in contrast, me, an absolutely stinking sinful man in His glorious presence. I wanted to be clean, but the more I tried, the more I realized how weak I was and how much of a slave I was to sin. There’s nothing I didn’t try, but I found myself failing, seeking forgiveness, failing, seeking forgiveness, failing, seeking forgiveness again and again. Until one day I realized, this is exactly why Jesus came. So that there may be no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Read Paul’s dilemma in Romans 7. The more I confessed Jesus’ Lordship over my life and the more I confessed His righteousness over my life, the weaker sin became. The more I believed in His life in me, the less conscious I became of my sin in me. Eventually, sinful habits began falling away from my life like the dried bark of a tree trunk.
That’s why I love Jesus so much. Apart from Him, I am nothing, you are nothing and I hope you realize that. Because when you die to yourself, you are more alive than you think you could be because His life flows through you. There is nothing I can do to make Him stop loving me. There’s nothing I can do to make Him love me more. There’s nothing I have done to make Him love me less. What can you do to such a God? Except for falling and Worshiping!!! You need not be singing a song. You need not be in church, closing your eyes and swaying to the soft piano music that appeals to your senses. Worshiping in spirit and truth is an attitude to carry all day long. Walking in reverence of God, being conscious of His holiness, and being conscious that as His child, we are to reflect His nature in all that we do every moment is worship. And it is worship in Spirit and truth.
We humans have a problem. It’s called EGO and PRIDE. We struggle to receive a free gift. We always have this tendency to try and pay back a favor somehow. But what can you pay God for saving you from eternal damnation and granting you eternal life? So, when you consider Him and His love, there’s nothing you can do, absolutely nothing, but praise Him, Worship Him, Adore Him and live each moment of your life with perpetual gratitude for your salvation. Let’s not try to pay Him back with our pitiful efforts in singing songs and portraying a holy life. Let’s simply accept His free gift of righteousness and accept the fact that we cannot do anything except worship Him with heartfelt gratitude. That is worshiping Him in Spirit and Truth.
So, should we not sing any songs? Sure, we should. In fact, we certainly should sing, and sing “To Him”. Notice, I emphasize, “To Him”. Unfortunately, many songs are focused on self. The next time, you are at church and when you begin singing, pay close attention to the lyrics, close your eyes, imagine you are singing every word of it to Him and Him alone, reminding yourself of how He has saved you, rescued you, and been gracious to you. Fill your heart with thankfulness and start singing. You will soon realize that you will be unable to sing many of today’s popular songs when your focus is to worship Him and praise Him for what He has done for you.
But there are many songs that are anointed and written with Jesus in mind, and you can worship Him in Spirit and truth when you are able to mean every word you sing. Even if you run out of words, just make a tune in your own words of gratitude and hum it along. Nothing in this world or in the world of the evil one can snatch you from the love of Christ. Be rest assured you are safe in His powerful hold. He will see you through all your hardships. He will carry you through and turn your sorrow into joy. Keep praising Him and worshiping Him. He builds His throne on the praises of His people. Your true worship will cause Him to rest in you and fill you with His peace. If He is in you, what do you have to fear? Jesus our Lord came to give you a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
Isaiah 61: 1-3 – The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they may be called trees of righteousness.
Father God, please help me to remember what I have been forgiven of. Remind me of the many blessings over my life. Remind me of what I have when my mind wanders to what I don’t have. Humble me Lord and grant me the grace to be thankful at all times. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!