In spirit and in truth

What does it mean to worship in spirit and in truth?

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)

Today’s reading: John 4

Jesus explained that God is spirit, and the Bible teaches us that Jesus is “the Truth”. The Old Testament has the law, then Jesus Christ gives us grace and truth.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)

I think of worshiping in spirit as an emotional state; coming from the heart. Without having emotional investment in the worship, I’m just going through the motions.

Worshiping emotionally with passion but with no truth, I have missed the point. I’m pretty emotional when it comes to viewing a beautiful sunset or eating tacos, but if I worship the sunset or the tacos, my worship is in vain; it is worship without truth.

Two weeks from today we’ll cover John 18 but I wanted to share this verse ahead of time as it ties into today’s theme:

Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37)

I also take this “truth” another way in that when we seek truth, seeking God’s will, seeking to be shown our sins with a repentant heart, we are worshiping in truth, we seek to listen to his voice.

The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” (John 4:25-26)

Had the woman been drinking some of that well water at the moment Jesus proclaimed himself as the messiah, don’t you think she would have spit the water out in a dramatic fashion? In my mind that’s exactly what happened, although I have no proof. Adding this to my list of questions for Jesus.

Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” (John 4:39)

He knows all I’ve ever done, and if I am willing to listen to Him, he’ll tell me all I’ve ever done. At the end of my life he’ll also show me everything I’ve ever done; sins upon sins piled high like a garbage dump outside a big city reeking stench and attracting the lowest of creation. Fortunately along with this embarrassment, my death sentence will be pardoned by the man, the Son who will say “he’s with me”.

Unlike me, Jesus listens unconditionally, and if I confess what he already knows to be true, and I repent in spirit and in truth, he will forgive me of all of my sinful past and present. Focusing on me at the center I see no sin, but with a humbled heart, seeking his truth for earnest repentance, he shows me my many sins. An entangled mess that no man can sort on his own.

Perhaps the reader will believe based upon my testimony, but then come to know him more richly when hearing for himself or herself.

And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:41-42)

Call out to him in spirit and in truth; believe because of his word, he will listen and respond, and you will know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.