“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Do you ever feel, in a worship setting, that you are disconnected? The worship leader is doing his best to get you into the experience but you just can’t get into it. You just feel like something is missing. Maybe you blame the music. Let’s face it; churches are using a lot of music styles in attempts to whip us into a worship frenzy.
When my youngest son was very young, I decided that organized sports would be good for him. So I signed him up for t-ball. When the first game arrived my wife and I couldn’t wait to get to the ballpark. What a thrill to see him playing centerfield. That’s where they put the best players, right? And so the game began.
As the first batter came to the plate, Michael went for a little walk in the outfield. He smiled and waved at his other teammates in the outfield as he strolled happily toward the outfield fence. His coach yelled for him to get into position, but Michael was more interested in inspecting the fence.
Suddenly the batter made contact and the ball darted up the middle of the field over second base and — you guessed it — into centerfield. The coaches and fans screamed at the centerfielder to get the ball, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
The coach called time and ran into the outfield for some one on one instruction. With his finger, he drew a circle in the dirt and told him not to step outside the boundary. Dutifully, Michael took his place and was once again ready to face the action on the field.
The next batter slammed another grounder up the middle, past second base, and just to the left of Michael’s circle. The coaches yelled frantically for Michael to get the ball. But he just stood there. Again the coach called time and marched to center field.
“Michael, why didn’t you get the ball?” he inquired.
“You told me to stay in the circle,” replied Michael.
From beginning to end it was apparent that Michael just wasn’t into the game. There was no connection between him and baseball. He just wasn’t into it.
In today’s selected scripture Jesus encounters a woman at a well in Samaria. The Samaritans were brought to the region of Samaria by the king of Assyria. Most were from near Babylon. These strangers integrated with the Jews still remaining in the land, and gradually abandoned their old idolatry and adopted parts of the Jewish religion. However, the Jews in Jerusalem refused to allow them to worship in their temple. Consequently, the Samaritans erected a rival temple. It was in the context of these religious and cultural differences that Jesus confronted the woman.
The Samaritan woman said to Jesus, “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” (John 4:20)
She is concerned about the place of worship. Jesus dismissed the notion when he said, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” (v 21)
Worship is not about a place or a building, but our right connection with God, through “spirit and truth.”
Jesus further amplifies His point by saying, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Worship then is connecting with God by communing with His spirit, and focusing on His truth.
Imagine how you would react if a friend visited, sat down on your sofa, devoted her time to playing with her cellphone — never once attempting to engage you in conversation. You would wonder why they bothered to come.
That’s the way we often approach worship. Disengaged. Disconnected. Self-absorbed.
True worship must have a spiritual connection. “God is spirit.” For our heads and hearts to be into worship we must be connected to God through the Spirit.
Back to my original questions about worship: “Do you ever feel that you are disconnected?” Real worship can’t be manufactured. It’s not the ability of the worship leader or the hymns and songs that make worship real. In fact, it has little to do with being in church. It has everything to do with what is going on in your heart. Real worship begins with a right relationship to God through Christ and a spiritual connection with God through the Holy Spirit. Get your focus right and your worship will be right.
Get your heart right and meet God prayerfully through the Spirit. Pay less attention to what is going on around you and more attention to God. Make Him your focus and true worship will be the result.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Are You Missing Out On the Nearness of God?
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.