John 4:23-24 (NLT) 23But the time is coming and is already here when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for anyone who will worship him that way. 24For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
The Samaritan woman whom Jesus met at the well was focused on location, politics, being right, and many other things. Like yesterday when Jesus was speaking with Nicodemus, Jesus didn’t necessarily answer questions directly, rather He gets right to the point and answers the question they should have asked.
Jesus is indicating that the ritual services are passing away and that the spiritual life must be focused on Him instead. It isn’t the building, the service, or the location — it is Jesus Christ alone that we must worship.
It isn’t outward pretense that God looks for in our worship, it is a heart that is fully devoted and surrendered to Him. Our outward rituals are nothing. It is our heart that really matters.
“…a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not a cutting of the body but a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. Whoever has that kind of change seeks praise from God, not from people. “
(Romans 2:29 NLT)
Our worship needs to come from the inside out — not the outside in.
Many churches give the impression that we have to look good. Many people don’t come to church because they don’t look good. People may not have the right clothes, they may not have the right Bible, they may not know how to act, or they may not say the right things. How do we raise up a church that lets people know they are OK, just the way they are? How do we tell people it is a heart thing and not a behavior thing?
How do we get past the stuff that stands between us and God?
I’d rather see our church filled with people who swear, chew, smoke, and dress poorly — if they are truly seeking after God, than I would have a church filled with pretty people, who say the right thing, sing well, and are able to do a lot of stuff — if their hearts are not truly seeking God.
In other words, God can work with imperfect people who know they’re imperfect, but He can’t work with a bunch of people who are in denial. I’m really not concerned with outward behavior. I really want to see people who can be real and honest and transparent.
Church should be a place where we worship in Spirit and in Truth. It isn’t about the show, it is about the heart.
Father God, how can we get people to realize that we accept them as they are? How can we help people to understand that seeking God is not about behavior? How can we get people to see you just the way you are? How can we get people to quit comparing their insides to other people’s outsides?
You tells us that we are all sinners and that even our best attempts at right living are worthless. So, I guess that puts us all on equal footing then; doesn’t it? The bum in the street and mother Teresa, both need you in order to be saved. The prostitute and the Pope cannot see salvation without accepting You. The murder and I are on the same path — in need of You.
Forgive me Lord. Teach me how to worship in Spirit and in Truth. Teach me how to consecrate my heart and let my religion evolve from the inside-out. Let my behavior reflect the work you’re doing in me. Let my love be from you. Let me be safe. Let people see You when they look at me!
I love you too God!