“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God,
to feed the mind with the truth of God,
to purge the imagination with the beauty of God,
to open the heart to the love of God,
to devote the will to the purpose of God.”
– Archbishop William Temple
Worship is more than music—it is life. Worship is an attitude of the heart. It flows from intimacy with the Father. It is demonstrated more in who we are than in what we do. Too often we try so hard to do worship rather than allowing our lives to be worship. One of the most challenging scriptures to me is Romans 12:1, which states: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living (breathing) sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable (logical) service (worship of God)” (NKJV, amplification mine). In essence, the apostle Paul is instructing the Romans that the life they are living should be lived sacrificially as logical worship unto God! This is true worship.
Jesus had much to say about true worship and whether or not people were true worshippers. He declared to a Samaritan woman at a well: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24 NKJV). In a conversation with a woman who did not know what she worshipped (vs. 22), Jesus reveals two requirements for true worship: (1) you must worship in spirit; (2) you must worship in truth. The fact that Jesus calls it true worship implies there is a form of worship that is not worship at all.
How do we ensure that we exemplify the worshippers God seeks? The answer lies within the two requirements Jesus established. Those who worship Him must worship in spirit! Notice the intensity of this statement. It is obviously not a suggestion but a command for true worship. The word spirit is the Greek word pneuma. It has many definitions, including the third person of the Trinity, or the Holy Spirit. In this text we know that it is not referring to the Holy Spirit, since the Holy Spirit is a proper noun and the word spirit here is not capitalized.
Instead, the word speaks of the vital principle by which the body is animated, or the breath that makes man live. We learn from the Word, “And the lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (speaking spirit)” (Genesis 2:7 KJV, amplification mine). There are two things that separate us from the rest of creation: we were created in God’s image, and we were given the breath of life.
It is that breath of life, which made us speaking spirits; no other form of creation carries a spirit. God has entrusted us with this life—this very breath—and we have a duty to return every breath, the essence of who we are, back to Him. This is true worship. If we truly grasp this, everything that we are and everything that we do then becomes worship unto the Lord. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17 NKJV, emphasis mine).
Those who worship Him must also worship in truth—the second of the two requirements for true worship. It has equal importance to the first. There is no indication that one is more essential than the other, but both work together to create true worship. The word truth is the Greek word aletheia. Simply speaking, it means nothing hidden or concealed. It holds the idea of living a transparent life grounded in integrity producing prosperity.
Think about the fact that Jesus spoke of truth or transparency as true worship. Secrets spoil sacrifice! David the psalmist said, “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, my Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18 NLT). To not confess known sin is to conceal it, and David said if I conceal my sin God will not hear my cry. Why? Because God is looking for true worshippers, those who worship in spirit and in truth.
Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, declared, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13 NKJV). Covered sin equals poverty, and confessed sin equals mercy.
David, whom God declared “a man after His own heart” (see Acts 13:22), prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV). This is a prayer that we all should form a habit of praying. Worship coming from a heart that conceals wickedness is worthless. True worship is transparent.
Take a moment and ask yourself, What kind of worshipper have I become? God is seeking those who worship in spirit and in truth. So become that kind of a worshipper! Live your life as worship, and allow God access to every area. Be one who worships God wholly abandoned—in spirit and in truth—and watch what He will do with your life.