Worshipping in Spirit and Truth
Enter his gates with THANKSGIVING. Go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4
There’s a familiar phrase to many Christians. It’s a common expression we take from John 4:24. There we read about John telling a Samaritan woman that one MUST “worship God in spirit and in truth”. It may be a difficult concept for some to understand, and seems thoroughly disregarded by others. When I imagine what a true worshipper of God might look like, I think of King David (as most probably do). If you’re unfamiliar with his story, you can read about him staring here. It’s a story that chronicles a man whose worship directly touched the heart of God.
In comparison to someone like David, I feel like I live a pretty lackluster life. Don’t misunderstand me. I love my life. I have a great wife. I’m the father of two awesome little boys who are growing to be special men in God’s Kingdom. I have a career that I really do love and God continues to breathe fresh life into the dreams He is placing in my heart. Still, I feel far from what He designed me to be, a perfect instrument of worship. Honestly, and ironically, it’s worship songs that make me feel this way. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I feel this way in regard to worship songs I wish I could sing from the bottom of my heart.
Have you ever heard this quote from A.W. Tozer, “christians don’t tell lies, they just go to church and sing them”? I think this is partly true. How often do we stop and consider the words of the worship songs we sing? I feel like some of them expose how far I am from being able/willing to fully abandon all of my goals and ambitions, in exchange for all He has for me. Take, as an example, the words of this popular worship song:
Lord I give you my heart. I give you my soul.
I love for You alone.
Every breath that I take, every moment I’m awake
Lord, have your way in me
Some weeks, I just don’t feel like that guy.
Worship is serious. It’s not just a time for us to sing with one another. It’s another opportunity for us to open our hearts before God. The last thing I want to be in those moments is false. Rather than sing something that may not be true of myself, I turn those thoughts into prayers. “God help me to lay aside my selfish ambitions and learn to live, guided by your plan for my life. Right now I just don’t feel like I can say that I’m living for You alone. Holy Spirit help me live a life and be a man through whom You can truly have your way.” Perhaps I’m splitting hairs. Admittedly, it seems like such a small difference. However, I believe it’s a great expression of His worth to us to acknowledge how far we are from His glory and that only he can bridge the distance that separates us.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:10-12 Give thanks today, with a pure and grateful heart.
(note: Re-reading this whole thing, it sounds like a bit of a bummer on what is such a significant day for most of us. I apologize, if it comes across that way. I’m curious to hear your thoughts.)