By John Martin
The tagline for our ministry is “More than Music”, but what do we mean by that? When many people hear the word worship they think of worship as something that we do in church on Sundays. We hear people say things like, “Man, we really worshiped last Sunday! Why, our preacher didn’t even get to preach!” They may have had a great time, but was there genuine worship that took place? Someone else may remark, “Our service Sunday was so sublime. The Minster’s words were so touching, everyone left the service uplifted and encouraged.” Again, they may have been blessed, but was there genuine worship? Often so many are guilty of trying to regulate worship to a specific time and place when, true biblical worship should encompass our entire lives.
In John chapter four we see Jesus ministering to the woman at the well. In her encounter with Jesus we gain insight to her thoughts on worship. Like many today, she too believed that worship was something that happened in a certain time and a certain place (please refer to John 4:20). While many who share this concept of worship have the best of intentions, the concept is flawed.
Jesus tells the woman at the well in verses 23 and 24, “But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24, NLT) In essence what Jesus is saying is that true worship must be anointed by the Spirit and based in the Scriptures. It is not tied to a specific time or place but rather it is tied to a specific person (Jesus) and certain lifestyle (a life lived for God’s glory).
In John 4 while conversing with this woman, Jesus tells her that those who worship God must do so in “spirit.” Genuine worship of God is not the fleshly displays we sometimes call worship. Though worship may indeed manifest itself in vocal and visible forms, essentially worship is a spiritual matter. Worship, instead of being an event that happens externally, always begins internally, within the spirit of man. But how can a person develop a worshiping spirit? Here are 4 great realties that must be in place for you and me to be able to worship in spirit and truth:
1. We Must Be Born Again
Authentic worship of God can only be found in a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is the first step in developing a worshipful spirit. The only access that any person has to the Father is through the Son. For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5, NLT)
2. We Must Be Yielded to The Holy Spirit
All genuine worship of God is the work of the Holy Spirit in the spirit of the believer. Who knows Lord better than His Holy Ghost? No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:11, NLT) Therefore, as the believer yields to the influence of the Spirit of God in his life, worship will be the result. Worship that is not motivated and directed by the Holy Spirit will be flawed at best and blasphemous at worst. The Holy Spirit must lead in worship!
3. Our Thoughts Must Be Centered on God
Worship is the natural outflow of a mind filled with and renewed by God’s truth. We call this process of centering one’s thoughts on the Lord meditation. Now, there is a lot of confusion as to what meditation is. To meditate is to simply focus the entire mind on one subject. The heart and goal of meditation is the discovery of truth. As we meditate on the Word of God, we will discover more about Him. As our mind is filled with His glory as revealed in His Word, this will naturally overflow in genuine worship of the Lord God.Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. (Psalm 1:1-3, NLT)
Please understand that I am not promoting some metaphysical, mystical kind of meditation. What I am promoting is old fashioned prayer and study of the Word of God! You may call it a quiet time, or you may refer to it as a devotion, but the goal should be the same. We must all have a time set aside when we get alone with God to meditate on His truth and talk to him in prayer.
Charles Spurgeon said this about the matter of a private devotional time, “Why is it that some are often in the place of worship and yet they are not holy? It is because they neglect their closets. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn but they will not go forth into the field to gather it; the fruit hangs on the tree but they will not pluck it; and the water flows at their feet but they’ll not stoop to drink it.”
4. We Must Honor God in All We Do
As we pointed out at the beginning of this article, worship is not an act that is regulated to a specific place or time. Worship is not as much a life event as it is a lifestyle. True worship is living a life that honors God in all we do. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31, NLT) Everywhere we go, everything we do at all times should be done under the umbrella of worship. It should all bring glory to God!
Just like the woman at the well in John 4, many of us think worship is something done at a certain time and place, but it entails so much more. Worship is not about our weekly church service. It is not about the songs we sing or if we lift our hands to God, shout or sit quietly and reflect on His grace and goodness. True worship is more than music. True worshippers, those who the Father is seeking to worship Him, are those who have experienced the saving grace of God by placing their trust in Christ and accepting Him as their Savior. True worshippers are those who yield to the Holy Spirit and meditate on God’s Word. True worshippers are those who honor God in the everyday.
Worship, it is so much more than music!
For a more in-depth study on lifestyle worship please checkout our resource WorshipLife: Honoring God in the Everyday.