(This is the first installment in a three-part series on the subject of worship, taken from Gerry's book, In Pursuit of His Glory: A Quest to Know the Power and Presence of God.)
The Lord Jesus taught us about worship in His encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. He revealed that we are to “worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” It is to the worshipper that the Father comes in the revelation of His glory, but our worship must be “in spirit.”
The word spirit can be translated by using either a small “s” denoting our spirit, or a capital “S” denoting the Holy Spirit. The truth is that worship flows out of our spirit made alive by the indwelling power and life of the Holy Spirit. Paul said in Philippians 3:3, “For we are the circumcision who worship God in the spirit, that rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh.”
It is the Spirit who energizes and, of course, the Spirit is the Spirit of truth, so any wrong relationship or attitude will keep us from true worship. The Spirit directs our worship. As we worship in the Spirit and in truth, we continually will know the power and life and fullness of God filling our life. This is why worship is so vital and so important.
So those who worship must also worship “in truth.”The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, is the One who enables us to abide in the Living Christ, who Himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes unto the Father but by Me.” True worship is centered in the truth of who Jesus is and what He has done. Jesus made it very clear that only as we abide in His word would we be His disciples. Then we would know the truth, and the truth would set us free (John 8:32).
The truth is that Jesus, who humbled himself unto death, even the death of the cross, has been exalted by God and given a “name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
This is the source of our worship, this mind of Christ that helps us to count others as more important than ourselves, and to humble ourselves as servants, honoring Him as Lord above all. The greater our understanding of Christ, the higher and deeper and more intimate will be our worship. Speaking of Christ, George MacDonald said, “No man and no woman surely ever saw Him as He was and did not worship!”
Of course, if we live in wrong relationships with our brothers and sisters, that will only stifle worship. As the apostle John said, “He who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). The antidote is a full measure of God’s love. Our insecurity makes us defensive and negative. God’s love makes us secure. We fear the deep pain of rejection and push away close relationships. God’s love accepts us. We are judgmental and critical, walking on the sure path to wickedness. God’s love pours out forgiveness, for us and for others.
What keeps me from being a worshipper? Is it guilt? A condemning conscience? Haunting memories of failure? Feeling inadequate? Having dread of the future? Worry? God breaks through in the sacrifice of worship, because in our brokenness and deep need for Him, God shows us who He really is.