by Ajay Chakravarthy (based on RLCF Bible Study on Wednesday, March 30, 2016)
“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.” (John 4:23)
When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, He told her “You worship what you do not know; ..” in John 4:22. She probably thought that she knew who she was worshiping. Could it be that I think I know that I’m worshiping the Lord and perhaps there is an area where I do not know as I ought to have known? (1 Cor. 8:2)
There are many recorded in the scripture that sought after God. But who are those that God is seeking after? If God who needs nothing is looking for someone then I want to be one among that number, so that can bring pleasure to the heart of God.
It is no secret who our Father in Heaven is looking for when He looks down at this earth. We see that He is looking to see those who have faith (Luke 18:8), those whose hearts are completely His (II Chronicles 16:9) and those who worship Him in the right way (Jn. 4:23).
It is important that we worship God in the right way, in Spirit and Truth or else or worship will be worthless (Matt. 15:9).
Let us examine our worship in the light of God’s word.
Has our worship cost us something (Living Sacrifice)?
We see that the devil desires worship (Luke 4:7). He obtains worship by offering the kingdoms of this world (Luke 4:5, 6). We see that the one who worships the devil gains something of this world in return.
Worship of the Lord usually costs us something – David in building the Temple (2 Sam. 24:24), Job in losing worldly possessions (Job 1:20), Abraham in giving up his son Isaac (Gen. 22:5), blind man losing his reputation among the religious leaders (Jn. 9:28, 34, 38), and for us in losing our self-life (Rom. 12:2, Heb. 10:5). Are we willing to worship the Lord in secret that it gives Him pleasure alone and we do not receive anything in return but rather may cost us something?
Is our worship only from our lips or does it originate from our heart (in Spirit)?
It is when we worship the Lord in Spirit that our heart (inner man) is close to Him (Matt. 15:8, inferred from the verse). Only the Lord sees our worship that is in Spirit. It involves giving this body and our will to the Lord in secret (Rom 12:2, Heb. 10:5). But the worship that doesn’t start from our inner man and is only external (our lips) is vain (Matt. 15:8, 9).
Is our worship without Hypocrisy (in Truth)?
Saul had committed a sin and didn’t obey the Lord in destroying the Amalekites (1 Sam 15:19). That didn’t bother Saul as much as what the people would think (1 Sam. 15:24) and honor before the elders and the people (1 Sam 15:30). Yet Saul was so eager to worship the Lord (1 Sam. 15:31).
We also have the danger of not worshiping the Lord as we ought to. Maybe we are just interested in having a good testimony/reputation with those in the church and not the sin in our private lives, or our worship has not cost us anything of our self-life. Let us forget those things that are behind (in not worshipping the Lord as we ought to) and be encouraged to press on towards the goal of worshipping God in Spirit and Truth (Philippians 3:13; John 4:23).