John 4:24 (NIV)
God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in Truth.
I love our Verse of the Day (yesterday) because it addresses two great points about worship. Jesus taught that our worship of God must be specific and intentional. Specific addresses that worship must be spiritual. Intentional addresses that worship must be sincere. To explain spiritual matters in practical terms, I usually turn to the Apostle Paul for his insight:
Romans 12:1 (New International Version)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Romans 12:1 (English Standard Version)
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your (rational) spiritual worship.
Romans 12:1 (New American Standard Bible)
Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Romans 12:1 (New King James Version)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable (rational) service.
I reprinted several translations of Romans 12:1 because I want you to get a sense of how diverse the Greek is translated in this passage. Regardless of how the relationship to worship is presented (i.e., true and proper worship; rational or reasonable; or spiritual worship), all the passages agree that acceptable worship to God is the presentation of yourself … your body as a living and holy sacrifice. In other words, true and reasonable worship through our physical beings is how spiritual worship is manifested. And Paul indicates to us that true worship is sacrificial in nature and holy in motivation. Acceptable worship means we have set ourselves apart (think consecration or sanctification) to serve God and His Kingdom in these vessels He has given us – that is our human bodies.
Perhaps easier said than done, but spiritual worship … true worship is ultimately manifested through a sacrificial offering of “surrendered” selves to God. It means everything we are in our inner being is focused on pleasing Him and doing His will. That requires submission, but not to religious rites or human rules; rather, it requires a reverent fear of our Holy Father – who saved us and called us to be holy just as He is holy. (Cf. 1 Peter 1:16) It means that we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily and follow Jesus. (Cf. Luke 9:23) It means to do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than what animal sacrifices were to represent. (Cf. Proverbs 21:3)
Isaiah 29:13-14 (NIV)
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Therefore, once more, I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish; the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”
My friends, worship is not something we can pretend. Worship is specific … it is intentional. It is not following a prescribed set of rules or ritual taught by organized denominations or hierarchies. Worship is the sincere, rational expression of the intimacy between you and the Father through Jesus Christ. The closer you draw to Him … the more you submit to Him … the more you will abide in Him (and He in you). (Cf. John 15:4-10) Worship becomes a natural expression of your physical life in Christ. Everything you do in your body, as a living sacrifice, becomes Spirit led and will bear the fruit of the Spirit. As such, worship will never be contrived; rather, it will be an outpouring of the wellspring of life within you….
Indeed, God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship Him both in the Spirit and in Truth. Amen.
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” ~ Matthew 4:10