As a worship leader, I often think about worship and what is included in it. I think about music, the act of worship, and what we bring to God in worship. But something new I've thought about lately is how we worship. When I say 'how' we worship, I don't just mean what we do in worship as an act, but what we do in worship at it's very core.
Usually, when I hear worship talked about, it's usually either a debate about it or someone speaking of a particular way we must worship. Instead, I want to look at it in a different light. In our modern day, when worship is mentioned, most may think about a music setting. Does something like this come to mind?
Maybe so. We often imagine a congregation with lifted hands singing with the worship team. That's right on the money. It's a wonderful time of intimacy with the Lord, but what exactly are we doing when we raise our hands and sing out? Have you ever thought that God seeks a certain kind of worshiper?
In my own studies, I've just finished Luke and began the book of John. Like I said before, I've been thinking about this idea of worship for some time. In my study, I came to John chapter 4 where Jesus talks with the Samaritan woman. This is a wonderful conversation between Jesus and the woman. They cover many topics, but one in particular answered my questions on how we worship at it's core. And that answer is: In spirit and in truth. Let me explain; here is the scripture:
"But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him." John 4:23
To let you know the relevant part of the conversation thus far, there was a debate between Jesus and this woman regarding the proper location for worship. The Samaritans believed it was on Mt Gerizim (where Abraham and Jacob had built altars; and near where this conversation was taking place) and the Jews believed it was in the temple. Do you remember earlier in the post how I said that we can get caught up in what the proper way to worship is? The debate between her and Jesus reminds me of that. Jesus tells her that there is coming a time when you will worship neither on the mountain or the temple, but in Spirit and in Truth. See, the physical location of worship and our specific act of worship may be irrelevant. God desires the worshiper who comes to Him in spirit and truth. Someone who is worshiping to be closer with Him, to have an experience and not to merely keep some sort of religious standard. We should enter into worship with the expectation of meeting with God. Worship is not a lifestyle, it should be intentional. Sometimes in our everyday lives, we get caught up in the day to day, not always thinking of how we can become closer or attempting to do so. This is why worship should be intentional. It is a time of wanting God more, a time to worship who He is, which is Truth and a time to rejoice in the Spirit.
For me, this sheds a new light on worship and our intentions behind it. Instead of wondering where or what act we do in worship, let's put that focus towards knowing that Jesus desires our worship in Him. He doesn't desire that you bring anything to the table. After all, isn't our righteousness as filthy rags? He just desires you, and your whole heart.