Yet the time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Sprit and in truth.” John 4:23-24
This verse has always spoken to me in intimate ways. I’ve always held worship so very dear to my heart, and as a child I worshiped freely and with abandon. It was just so special, so real, to me.
Worship has always been at the core of my heart.
And even as a child I wanted to help people to know how to come to this place of worship, how to come to this place of Spirit and truth.
I was reading something the other day that struck me, the idea that expressing negative emotions can be a part of worship.
The writer was talking about being honest about your hard times, and pointing out that David, the worshiper that wrote so much of the Psalms, wrote a great deal about all he was suffering.
I paused and thought. Is this part of worshiping in truth?
Being genuine in our worship?
So often people hold back from coming close to God because they don’t “feel” very worshipful. Life isn’t pretty and they can’t pretend it is in order to get to that “holy place” where they think “worship” resides.
If we think we need to be a certain way to be able to worship, we have the wrong idea.
In a parable Christ talked about two men who came to pray, a Pharisee and a tax collector, the Pharisee felt justified to come before God, but the tax collector beat his breast in grief, crying “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. Luke 18:14a
His grief was worship.
Oh I’m not saying that we should always be down on ourselves. But the Pharisee, he was proud, and in his pride, his worship wasn’t coming from an honest place in his heart.
The tax collector was honest before God.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God- this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1
In the Old Testament, only the perfect lambs were acceptable to be presented as a sacrifice. My body is far from perfect. I am scarred by sin, but also I am simply marred by disease, I have often wept before God.
But, as I sit here, I wonder if those very tears weren’t also worship.
It is a strange and beautiful thing to understand that God wants all of us. Every part. Oh I’m not saying that He wishes us to remain just as we are, infected by so many things that fester, but He longs for us to come just as we are.
We don’t need to dress up our mess for Him. He doesn’t want us to try to hide our faults before Him. A relationship needs honesty and He wants a true relationship.
If life is to much for you today, it’s ok to come before God. If you don’t have everything together, it’s ok to come before God. If you are struggling with sin, it’s ok to come before God. In fact it is ok to come before Him boldly with our issues, wrestling with them before Him in all its ugliness.
He wants that!
He wants rawness from us, He wants rawness in this intimate place before Him.
He wants us to come before Him with our genuine selves, no matter what that looks like!
This is why Christ came! To be the perfect sacrifice, to tear the curtain separating God and man, so we can come before Him just as we are!
This is genuine praise.