“But the time is coming – indeed it’s here now – when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” – John 4:23-24 (NLT)
I know that I keep saying this, but this is yet again another one of my favorite passages in John (can you tell that this is my favorite Gospel account?)! Spirit and Truth. True worship to God. The purest posture before Him.
But what does this mean, to worship in spirit and in truth? We have already been hitting on it in pieces up to this point, because everything that the Apostles have written all points back to guiding believers to this kind of worship.
First, let’s reiterate what truth is. Truth is Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). He is the Eternal Word of God, which was with God in the beginning. The One through Whom all things were created and through Whom all things exist. He is God (all of this is from John 1:1-5). Jesus, the Living Word, is the Truth. He is the only Way to eternal Life. So His Word is quite literally His very being, making Him Truth in its entirety. Which means that, in order to worship in Truth, we worship by living our lives modeled after His Word, which is the Bible.
So we worship in Truth by abiding by and living a lifestyle of Truth. And this is done by living a life filled with and guided by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, when allowed to penetrate into the depths of our hearts and to teach us, He is the One who leads us into all Truth (John 16:13). And because Jesus is the Truth, this means that the Spirit leads us into the fullness of Jesus, the Truth. True worship in Spirit looks like listening to the Spirit when He highlights something in our lives and says, “Hey, this needs to go” or “Why are you doing that?” And also, “Let Me show you a better way.”
The two are inseparable. You cannot have one without the other, for they exist together. Those who try to worship in truth only get bound in the religion of legalism, which is what was wrong with the Pharisees. And those who try to only worship in spirit, well, they tend to over-spiritualize everything and they lose sight of the Truth of the Word. This is not relationship. In its own way, this also leads to a type of legalism and manipulation. For if someone seemingly operates in the Spirit but they lack truth, they do not submit themselves to any kind of accountability or correction.
Worshipping in Spirit and in Truth, they both compliment each other. The Spirit leads us into Truth, and the Truth shows us how to walk in submission to the Spirit. And together, they both cleanse the heart of impurity and place us in right standing before the Lord.
It amazes me that the life of a believer, the fundamentals of the “how,” they are so simple. Christ did not make this complicated for us at all. Yet, as we humans love to do so often, we decided that nothing so good could be so simple. So we overcomplicated it. We started over-analyzing the word, and we began to see things and teach things that are nowhere to be found in the Word. For some reason we can not comprehend the simplicity of the Gospel, and I believe this is due to a major lack of genuine faith. That, and it is coupled with the stigma in our society that everything has a logical explanation. Let me make this very clear: The things of God cannot be explained by any logical means that we have according to our earthly standards of measure.