Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Chapter 9: Spirit and Truth: Truth

       Okay let us calm down a little from the last chapter, I know I sorta got on my soap box a bit, and lets look at something most of us have heard preached a lot. So, from the title you probably know what I am going to talk about. John 24:4, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." I have pondered on this scripture for a very long time and I am not saying I have figured it all out but plan to give my thoughts on it so far. Like always I plan to tackle this in two parts but I plan to tackle this in reverse of what is said in the scripture. I feel like before we can really worship God in spirit we must know who he is and if we are truthfully worshiping him. So let us first look at the truth of the matter.
       I want to tackle the truth part of this chapter in two parts. First the truth of who we are worshiping and second if we are truthfully worshiping him. So lets look at who we are worshiping. Many of us say that we are worshiping the Lord but are we really? Let me put it this way. Let say you are dating someone for a while, how long does not really matter, and you say that you love that person. Then after a while that person starts showing you who they really are and you break up with them. Then, after all of that, someone asks you, "did you really love that person?" You respond with, "well the person that I fell in love with was not really who they were." Now, that may seem like a really odd analogy but let me ask a very serious question, are you worshiping the God of the Bible or a version of God that you have made up? I have heard of a lot of people who are now atheist say that they were raised in church but fell away when they got older. Why? you may ask. Well, they say because they were told about God but really did not know Him and when they did their own research it was not what they were raised with. So they just figured that it was all just false. See, many of us have a God in our mind that we have been taught about but is He the full version of God revealed to us in the Bible. We can not worship God in truth unless we truly know Him, just like we can not truly love someone if we only know one side of them. So lets go back to the basics of studying the word of God so we can truly worship Him in all of his glory because of who He is wholly.

       Now in an earlier chapter I gave a handful of attributes of God that we should be like as His followers. (Chapter 2 What's In A Name) These are the same attributes that we all normally praise Him for but I want to add that I have heard God called perfect love and perfect justice. Now my question is do we just worship Him for His perfect love? I am a parent and at times I have to spank my kids and to be honest it is heartbreaking every time. After I spank my kids and they have calmed down I always tell them that I love them. I will hold them and wipe away their tears and wait for them to tell me that they love me back. (Some people may disagree with spanking and that is fine but I find it biblical just as long as it is a spanking not beating). With all of that, if God is perfect justice do we tell Him we love Him when He has to "spank" us? It says in Hebrews 12:5-6, "and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, "MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES." See the one we worship has to not only be the loving father but also the one who will call us out even if it hurts. On the flip side I want to add that at a Bible study I had once I asked people to describe God in one word. The over all answer was "smiter", I know that is not a word but you get the idea, and when asked to describe Jesus it was "love". The funny thing is that God the Father and Jesus are all part of the God head but we have polar opposite ideas of who they are. It is funny to me because God the Father, the smiter, sent Jesus, the one who loves us, to die for us because God the Father loved us so much. On top of all of that Jesus is the one who talked about hell and punishment more than He did about heaven. What gets me the most is that we have made this idea of God up in our minds that is either uneducated or we choose to overlook the hard things to swallow. I am completely okay with idea of God being full of mercy, love and grace but am also completely okay with the God who pours out wrath. If we are going to worship God we must do it knowing the truth about Him and the truth is that He is love but He is also jealous for our love so much that He will be hard on us to make sure He receives our love.
       Now, on to if we are truly worshiping God. Let me show another scenario: Lets say that there are a group of people worshiping from morning till noon. They dance and they shout. They sing praises the whole time. They do what their traditions are but get no answer. What went wrong? Well some may say that they were not really praising or maybe their heart was not in the worship but if you know the story then you might realize that I am talking about the prophets of Baal. What is really sad is it sounds like most churches today. See, somewhere we have lost what true worship looks like. We have made it a song or a service but to be honest that is not really what worship is all about. We are told what true worship is in Romans 12: 1-2, " And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." True worship to God is a heart that is given over to Him totally. See, a heart given over to God can bring songs about like in psalms but it is not the song that is the worship. We get so mixed up with the culture of worship now a days we forget what God has called worship in the Bible. That is why I did not end with verse 1. We must not just follow the way the world does things all the way to the way the world worships, be it to people or otherwise. There are many love songs out there to people and to be honest our worship at times can seem to be just like those songs. We must get back to a lifestyle of worship to God starting with our heart. The songs we sing is not the kind of worship that God wants it is the lifestyle of a person. Everything we do is worship to God. I always say this to people, "I can find out what kind of follower of Christ you are by simply asking your boss." That may sound weird but think about it. If I asked someones boss what kind of worker they are and I am told that they are lazy, undependable, and all around not a good employee then it is reasonable to believe that that same person would more than likely have a lukewarm relationship with God. Some people may disagree with me about this but are we not told to do everything as unto the Lord? The Bible goes as far as to tell slaves to obey their masters even if they are harsh ones so that they can show them the gospel. True worship to God is a lifestyle that brings Him glory all the time. It can not just be a song or service it must be something that comes from the heart that ultimately brings a change of lifestyle.
       So the truth is are we truly worshiping the true God of the Bible? We make God look bad when we do not worship Him in the way His word tells us to. We make him look powerless when the world sees us worship and nothing happens or when we talk about only a part of who He really is. We make him look bad when our worship looks no different than idol worship that the world does all the time. We make him look even worse when our worship for idols, be it sports, movies, or anything else that is worldly far surpasses our worship for God. I am not saying any of those things are blatantly bad but what I am saying is that when we can quote stats, movie lines, words from a song, or whatever else better than the word of God we might want to really look at what is important. Who is it that we are really worshiping and what is it that gets our highest worship? We can no longer just hobble by with this half hearted half given life to God and call it worship. We must get back to studying the Bible to find out who this God is that we claim to love and what kind of worship He really desires out of us. If we want to really worship Him in spirit and truth than maybe we need to start finding out what the truth of the matter is. 

       I think the main problem is that we love to say we worship with our heart but really never worship with our head. We must stop making worship just an emotional thing and learn to also worship him with our understanding also. Someone's personal style of worship does not bother me. What I am mainly trying to point out is that when worshiping God do we really worship Him in total truth. Truth through repentance, truth through forgiveness, truth through submission, truth through humbleness, and most of all truth through the grace given to us through Christ Jesus our Lord. I only have one question: Are we truly worshiping God?

No comments:

Post a Comment