Photo by DarrenHester on Morgue File.
When you hear the word worship what comes to your mind?
For some, it brings images of a church building, an order of service, singing and preaching and a final prayer. Worship then is an itinerary of sorts. It is the service attended on Sunday morning.
Others think of adoration and the pledging of one’s commitment. Worship then, for these, is an act of surrendering one’s will to God. An act of falling before him, literally or figuratively, and confessing his worth and our undeserving nature.
In his conversation with the woman at the well, Jesus told her that true worshipers (cf. Jn. 4. 23) have a characterization that sets them apart from others.
By implication then, if there are true worshipers there must be, by contrast, false worshipers.
That is to say, there are those who do not do worship right!
Now, we are not meaning the first option for understanding worship, given above, but the second. So then, it is not that the order of their service is all out of sorts.
It is not that they have the benediction at the beginning of the service and so dismiss before everyone is good and seated!
It is not that they have the preaching in the wrong spot or that they are singing the hymns backwards!
It is not that they are not meeting in, what some may consider, an inappropriate local or be singing Country and Western tunes instead of hymns and praise music!
No, they have all the stuff right! They have all the accouterments. The service is swift and polished. It could, perhaps, even be described as professional.
So then, what is the hinge point? What determines if one is worshiping aright or wrongly?
There are two things really that make all the difference. First, the object (or, if you prefer, the subject) of the worship. That is to say, to be a true worshiper, according to Christ, one must worship the right thing; or, more appropriately, the right One!
If I am out on a hillside somewhere, adorned in my Sunday-best and I am worshiping Baal or Willy Wonka or anyone or anything else, besides the One, True God of all creation: I am not a true worshiper!
Second, not only must I worship the True God, I must worship him in the right manner. I must believe and affirm who he is (his attributes . . . etc.) as he has faithfully and, graciously, revealed himself through his word/Word.
This is what Jesus meant when he said to her, one must worship God in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4.24). The Holy Spirit, the third-person of the Holy Trinity, will assist and help those who belong to God to worship him correctly.
We learn from the rest of the Johannine material that the Holy Spirit is given to all those who believe in Christ as Savior and God, by God’s grace.
If you are a Christ-follower, if you have been born-again (or, born from above) (cf. Jn. 3. 3), then you have the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. And he will guide you and teach you to worship God truly: in adoration, thankfulness, humility and wonder.
Thus, as we ready ourselves for the worship service this morning, with our Sunday-best well-pressed and our hair just so; let us be reminded that just because we are seated, or even participating, in a worship service, we may, in fact, not be truly worshiping the God of our salvation.
However, if you will pray to the Holy Spirit and ask him to guide you and help you this morning to worship in spirit and truth, he will do so.
Worship must be done deliberately. We must have it a the forefront of our minds to do so. Why? Worship of God (true worship) is not natural to us. Worship of self? Well, that is another matter entirely! That, of course, is false worship.
We must purpose within our hearts to worship him. We must discipline ourselves, by the working of the Holy Spirit, to seek him and adore him. We must be fully aware and convinced that he is indeed worth our adoration and praise!
Just think how different the average worship service would be, if true believers truly worshiped God; the One who is worthy of our worship!
What sort of worshiper will you be this day? A true worshiper or a false one?
O Lord, my God and King, help me this day to worship you as you deserve and as I ought. Help me to seek your face and to adore you in wonder and amazement. Help me to extol your greatness and praise you for who you are and what you have done for me! Holy Spirit, I pray you will help me this day to worship truly, passionately and purposefully. I pray that I would not merely attend a service; but, that I would worship in spirit and in truth. I pray this in the wonderful name of Christ, my Savior and my God, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.