Encouragement for Today
“Worship in Truth”
Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor, “P31 Woman Magazine,” Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
John 4:23-24, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (NIV)
I stood in worship, arms raised, with tears and mascara streaming down my face. This wasn’t a new response. When my husband and I started attending our church, worship brought me to tears each week. My husband stopped asking what was wrong, as he knew I was OK, just emotional.
At first, it was embarrassing to get so emotional in worship. After all, I wasn’t a new Christian, having accepted Jesus as my Lord over 35 years earlier. And I wasn’t new to contemporary worship. In fact, I had led the worship singing at my old church. But I was new to this level of openness and intimacy with God, and it touched me in a very deep place.
The question begged to be asked, “If I was a Christian for decades, why hadn’t I known this level of intimacy through worship?” The answer is simple, yet took me a while to learn: I’d focused on serving God, including serving Him in worship, rather than worshipping Him. When I stopped focusing on “doing” worship, I learned what it meant to “be” a worshipper.
For years I had been serving God in worship; whether singing in a Christian band, being in the choir, or finally leading. It seemed I’d been in front of a congregation all my Christian life. It took a family move, and not singing up front, to actually discover what true worship felt like. For the first time I wasn’t worried about hitting the right note, or how I sounded, or if I looked properly worshipful while I was singing – I was just worshipping!
I think this must have been what Jesus tried to tell the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Jesus had been traveling, and stopped for rest and a cool drink in
After having her private life revealed by a stranger, the woman asked Jesus about the right place to worship – was it on a mountain where her ancestors worshipped, or was it in
The woman wanted to be right with God, and to make sure she was in the right physical place for worship, but Jesus wanted her in the right spiritual place. It didn’t matter where she worshipped God from an outward perspective, but how she worshipped on the inside.
It’s easy to let familiar words breeze through our mouths, without our hearts being fully engaged in worship. It’s amazing that we can be planning lunch and singing praises at the same time. But when we worship in spirit and truth, our hearts are laid bare before the Lord. It’s as if we open a door to the deepest place in our spirits and God steps in. In those moments of intimacy, God can work miracles in our hearts.
Without meaning to, I’d held the Lord at arms length during worship. Although it was uncomfortable at first to be that open in the presence of the Lord, I’ll never go back. After six years of learning to worship, I’m back on the worship team. But I’ll never sacrifice being a worshipper for serving in worship again. Let the tears flow!
My Prayer for Today:
Heavenly Father, You are worthy of all our praises. Your goodness and mercy know no bounds. Thank you for being patient with me as I learn to worship You in spirit and truth. I ask for greater understanding of what that means. Help me when my mind wanders and my thoughts turn inward. I want to worship You with all my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Think about your attitude towards worship. Is it routine? Is it exciting? Try one new way to worship God this week. This might include using praise music in a different setting, reading a Psalm out loud, making a list of God’s attributes, or attending a different church (in addition to your own) that worships in a different way than you are used to.
Read John 4:1-26.
The woman seems to abruptly change the subject away from herself in verse 19. Why would she do that?
What does Jesus’ response tell about the condition of the woman’s heart?
What holds you back from worshipping God with your whole heart?
What are different ways to worship God?
How can you increase the intimacy in your worship?
Psalm 95:6-7a, “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” (NIV)
Luke 4:8, “Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'" (NIV)
Genesis 3: 9-10, “But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’” (NIV)
Psalm 42: 7-8, “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.” (NIV)
Psalm 69:30, “I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” (NIV)
Let it Rain (Worship CD), by Gwen Smith
Declaration (Worship CD), by Gwen Smith
P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries
What Happens When Women Walk In Faith by Lysa TerKeurst
Originally published Monday, 19 September 2005.