Posts Tagged ‘spirit and truth’

Jesus told the woman at the well that the Father was seeking those who would worship him in spirit and in truth.  I believe the “truth” part is not just correct information – because even in that, we don’t seem to agree often.  (My Truth isn’t a body of doctrine as much as it is a Person.)  In this story, Jesus is baring the woman’s soul and her background. Part of the truth He wanted was for her to be honest with Him, not because he didn’t know all about her, but because she needed to acknowledge her state.  I think this is one of the most important aspects of truth for a worshiper of Christ, because not even the gospel can be effective unless we can see our true condition without God.

We have so many expectations of how worship has to be, depending on our particular identification within the Christian community.  I have endeavored to lay down those external trappings and seek the core of what it means to worship God.  This post I wrote awhile back for the other blog, and decided it fit better here on 4life, with a little more editing:

Sometimes wonder if people get as excited about God driving down the road in their cars with the music on as they do in church on Sunday; or if they turn off the T.V. long enough to hear from God during the week.  I’ve seen plenty of showmanship so it’s hard for me to always take demonstrative worship seriously.  I believe God deserves our exuberant praise, and I’ll be the first to admit I wish I had more of that capacity – not just to show Him my love more, but everyone else too.  I have a hard time expressing those things to anyone, let alone God.  But I do feel a deep love, regardless of my handicap in letting it out.

However I may fall short, it disturbs me to hear people’s love for God or spiritual maturity being rated on their worship style.  Maybe I am wrong and this is the true indicator of a person’s devotion, but I find I get distracted from just loving God when other people are telling me how I “should” worship.  In some circles, your motives as a potential trouble-maker will be suspect if you raise your hands in worship, or pray out loud when others are praying.  No one says you can’t.. but it’s pretty clear they don’t want you to.  They certainly don’t encourage it.

Then on the other side of the spectrum you are often challenged to “not care what anyone thinks” and “If you really loved God you would show it!” … which immediately puts me in a mindset to ironically, care what other people think.  Not that I am going to be too wild and crazy, but that my quieter approach to worship doesn’t measure up to standard.  True freedom allows people to worship God as He fills them.  If the worship is not alive, the problem is a heart condition you can’t solve with guilt trips or other manipulation.  Pressure people to conform and you will have a company of great actors!  You can’t push people to love more, but you can inspire them to.  Pushing creates resistance, but Jesus invites us to follow.

So many people want to argue about music and what’s right or wrong.  Churches are divided into different services based on preferences – or split completely.  Some say our rock band worship is idolatry, but I’ve seen the same pride and idolatry with church choirs and sophisticated audiences as well.  God did not ordain a holy kind of music.  Every tribe and nation on earth sings to God in a different sound, rhythm and voice.  He is not interested in how we sound, but in how we love Him.  Not in how excited we get during the service, but how we live it out all week.  The problem with music in the church isn’t our form, but that we don’t mean most of what we sing.  Our lips draw near, but our hearts are far from Him.  We are thinking about what’s for lunch or the movie we saw the night before.  Okay, maybe I need to just speak for myself.  It’s so hard to train our minds on God, and then to mean what we say.  Do we ever think about the bold claims and promises we make singing in church?  There have been times I have refused to sing because I felt it would be dishonest to make God the kinds of promises some songs give Him.

At one point I studied out worship through scripture, and it’s nearly always associated with sacrifice or falling on your face before a  Holy God.  The New Covenant example of true worship is Romans 12:2 – being a living sacrifice.  This isn’t demonstrated just by our enthusiasm in a church service (which I think is great if genuine and ongoing in your life) but in how we live every day, how we treat those closest to us.  Are we serving self or offering ourselves?

Someone has identified five love languages in human relationships.  If my memory holds, they are Verbal Affirmations, Affectionate Touch, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.  Worship can include all of these too!  God speaks all languages, and I think He delights in the many ways His children show Him their love, not forgetting that He has given us the “least of these” as one of the chief ways to touch His heart.  Someday I hope to be able to hoot and holler with the best of them, from my heart.  I offer my apologies for the frustration my inhibitions may cause others, but I ran across a song recently that expresses how I have often felt in church.  I share it here for my fellow Pentecostals trapped in a Baptist body.  😀   I won’t say the author wasn’t lacking something, but for those of us who are still growing, I appreciate that we can trust God is there and accepts our love as we are able to express it.

Because You Are

I can’t feel You, like others around me

I don’t feel like kneeling or closing my eyes

Is there something wrong with my heart that I can’t see

Or do You still feel love when nobody cries?

So I’ll praise You, if I never feel You

And I love you, cause I know You’re there.

And if You should choose I’m sure one day I’ll feel it

But feeling good is never the reason I care.

Father I praise You, Because You are.

Jesus I love You, Because You are.

Spirit I worship You, Because You are.

And if no one can see that Your love’s moving me

I worship you still and forever will

Because you Are.

Cause I know in my heart, how bad I want to touch You

There’s so much love my soul barely contains

No lack of desire in this desert to worship

I keep singing skyward, it just never rains.

Still I praise You, if I never feel You

And I love you, cause I know You’re there

And if You should choose I’m sure one day I’ll feel it

But feeling good is never the reason I care.

– Everybodyduck, from the album “Seized by the Power of a Great Affection”


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