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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In Spirit and In Truth

John 4:23,24
 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

 Worship is a lifestyle, not merely an allotted time slot in a church service. We worship God with our lives by our obedience to Him and demonstration of His love toward others. Throughout history the style and types of formal worship have evolved and changed. Worship has morphed over the millenniums from the sacrificial system of the Old Testament to David's heartfelt longing recorded in Psalms, from Jewish worship in the synagogue to the denominational High Church liturgy into the contemporary worship that is so prevalent today. Regardless of the form, God is interested in the heart intent of the worshipper. In worship we are softened and changed, we are equipped to receive the Word that God has prepared for us to hear. Worship encapsulates our entire lives, we are to be living sacrifices to Him, for His Glory. When we worship God fully with our hearts and minds He is able to change us more amply into the the image of His Son. In true worship, there is a posture of bastazo, or a constant attitude of submission (Wilson 15, 1989). 

Worship is defined as, “Reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.” The Jewish roots of Christianity are deep and non-negotiable. The Old Testament is Jewish in origin and any subsequently Christian church that does not embrace its rich history is not completely understanding God's unfolding plan of redemption for mankind. Says Marvin R. Wilson, author of the book, Our Father Abraham, Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith, “Christians can converse intelligently about the latest automobiles, fashions, music and sports, but too few give evidence of a deep understadning of their spiritual heritage. At best, their grounding in Biblical soil is both shallow and shaky. Hence, they usually embrace an uncritical conformity to the prevailing spirit of today's world” (Wilson 5, 1989). To truly worship God, we must understand Who He is. We gain our understanding of Him through scripture. Many scriptures speak of worship and fearful awe in the same breath, Psalm 2:11 is one such scripture, “Serve the Lord with reverent awe and worshipful fear; rejoice and be in high spirits with trembling [lest you displease Him]” (AMP). How do we span the gulf between God's awesomeness and fear of Him? This distance is crossed in love, as Psalm 5:7 proclaims, “But as for me, I will enter Your house through the abundance of Your steadfast love and mercy; I will worship toward and at Your holy temple in reverent fear and awe of You” (AMP). Worshipping God is not a burden as Psalm 25:14 speaks, “The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning” (AMP). Worship is duly God's,“Give to the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness or in holy array” ( Psalm 29:2, AMP). As His workmanship we should honor him as Psalm 22:29 echos, “All the mighty ones upon earth shall eat [in thanksgiving] and worship; all they that go down to the dust shall bow before Him, even he who cannot keep himself alive” (AMP). Ultimately, every knee will bow and every tongue confess Him, All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall bow down and worship before You” ( Psalm 22:27, AMP ). All creation is His as Psalm 33:8 says, “Let all the earth fear the Lord [revere and worship Him]; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him” (AMP). Certainly, humble respect of God's personage is integral to true worship.

Lord, in Jesus name, I pray that You help us to know You better through the reading of Your Word and intimacy in prayer.  I pray that You enrich our worship and open our spirits to Your Spirit.  We need You and love You and humbly ask You to reveal Your heart to us.  Thank You and praise You.  Amen.

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