Have you ever had a hard time worshiping God? If you’re anything like me, when we go through difficult times it’s easy to question what God is doing, or if He’s even there – which makes worshiping Him a bit of a stretch. Last month, during the Pink Impact Cruise, Pastor Debbie Morris shared a devotional about transparent worship. As she was speaking, God was stirring something in my heart that I want to share with you.
In John 4:23-24 Jesus says, “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.”
The Father is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and truth. Why? We must first consider where the emphasis is here – is Jesus emphasizing the fact that God is seeking worshipers (as in “God is seeking worshipers; and, by the way, the qualification is that they worship in spirit and in truth”), or is He emphasizing the qualities of the worship the Father is seeking (as in “if you are going to worship God, do it in spirit and in truth, for that is what the Father is looking for”). It may not sound like a significant distinction; but it is.
If we focus on God wanting worshipers, we often have a notion that God desires (needs, wants) our worship for His benefit, as though he is lacking something that is fulfilled with our worship. That, however, would be an anthropomorphism – that is, projecting human characteristics unto God. We, as un-whole beings, seek admiration, acceptance, or the “worship” of others. The paparazzi know that and make a living out of this seemingly insatiable need for worship in human terms. Too often we have this picture of God as One seated on His throne receiving worship, like trophies or badges to add to His collection. We think He needs our worship, or else He is somehow diminished in His deity.
But God is not like that. Before He created anything, God was complete, whole, fully satisfied in “godself.” He didn’t create in order to fill some void in His being. On the contrary, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created as an overflow of the perfect love they share with one another. The Triune God is whole in His being, and the love they share is such that they can’t keep it to themselves, so they create a universe, and creatures upon which they can pour out their love.
God is not after worship, as much as He is after relationship!
So maybe Jesus’ emphasis is not on the fact that the Father is seeking worshipers, but on the fact that He is seeking humans who come to Him in spirit and in truth. He is seeking people who want to relate to Him in transparent reality – and this is worship. God doesn’t want us to come to Him with our pretty masks of pseudo-spirituality – saying the right pious-sounding words and concealing our true feelings for fear that He may be displeased. No He wants us to come to Him with our raw emotions, feelings and thoughts. This is the fabric of intimate relationships, and that is what the Father is after.
God is looking for those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. He is inviting you to draw near, open your heart to Him, and receive from Him. Even when you are facing difficult times, you don’t have to fake it; but don’t turn away from Him. Recognizing that He is your helper and turning to Him even when things don’t seem to make sense is a form of worship. Draw near to God and share your heart with Him. And you can rest assured that in that, He is pleased.
Dr. Chiqui Polo-Wood | All Rights Reserved.