"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."
John 4:23-24 is a very familiar passage of scripture for most.
Not only does it talk about worshipping God. But, it talks about worshipping Him in spirit and in truth. And although we may have read it and even heard this passage preached repeatedly, do we really understand what true worship looks like?
Is true worship simply coming to church every time the doors are open? Or, is it the ability to eloquently quote scriptures?
Could it be a focus on the outward? Is that the worship God's looking for and seeking after?
God is tearing down old structures, mindsets and everything that people "thought" was acceptable worship. And He's commanding that the worship released from His people, be a worship that's true.
Worship released from a heart that is completely yielded and committed to the Father. From a heart that puts God first and has no other gods. It is a life committed to Him. That's true worship.
Let's look at the life of someone that really understood true worship; Abraham.
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
God chose to test Abraham. And in testing him, God asked Abraham to do something most would say was unthinkable. To offer his only son, as a sacrifice. Abraham loved his son Isaac. But, he loved God more. And, pleasing God was Abraham's priority.
Abraham chose to worship and obey even if it meant it would cost him his only son. Even if it would cost him everything.
He maintained his faith in the integrity of his God. We can see it in verse 5.
Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” (Genesis 22:4-5 NKJV)
Look at the words of faith he spoke to his servants in verse 5. Those were faith-filled words that attested to his trust in God.
He was saying to his servants, "I'm going up to worship God in obedience and do what He told me to do." "And because of what He promised me, I trust Him enough to know that both me and my son will be back."
Abraham chose to worship through His obedience, even when it was painful. He definitely understood true worship.
His journey to the mountain alone was a three day journey. Can you imagine the thoughts going through his mind during that three day trip? Yet, he continued. With each day and with every step, his actions were saying to God, "I choose to worship."
This is true worship. A lifestyle of obedience. A life that declares to God daily, "I choose to worship." With every step I take. True worship is never about empty lip service. It's about a heart that's filled with love for God.
Let's to back to Abraham. Every step of obedience he took, was a sweet smelling fragrance in the nostrils of God. Because it was true worship coming from the life of one who had purposed in his heart that he would have no other gods. To include his son, his only son, whom he loved.
And as we read the rest of the story, we see how Abraham arrived at the place of sacrifice, built an altar, laid his son upon it and was preparing to slay him in obedience as God said, when the angel of The Lord spoke to him. Let's read verse 12.
“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:12 NLT)
Abraham passed the test. God was able to say over Abraham's life four very awesome words-"For now I know."
God knew that Abraham would withhold nothing from Him. Now, look at your life. Is God able to say those same powerful words about you? Can He look at your life and say, "Now I know."? Now I know you will withhold nothing from me? Those are the true worshippers He seeks. True worship is a life of absolute surrender and obedience.
Ask God to reveal anything in your life that hinders your lifestyle of true worship.