Worship: In Spirit and In Truth
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers 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.”
– John 4:23-24
Spirit and truth, two necessary ingredients in worship. Yet, sometimes we don’t practice or think about the truth side of worship as diligently as we do the spirit.
What do I mean? I’m glad you asked.
I’m not saying our worship songs aren’t packed with truth. I’m saying we don’t always dig into the truths and fully understand the words we are singing.
What does “worship in spirit and truth” mean? Worship is the bringing together of the heart and mind. In spirit is our hearts and emotions while in truth is our mind and understanding. Worship is so powerful because it joins the two together in one act. Worship brings the truths of who God is, who He says we are, and mixes it with the emotions that rise up in us because of these truths. It is impossible to have true worship without being in both spirit and truth. They feed on each other. The truths I learn about God bring about emotions and feelings that I must express through worship. Those emotions and feelings then drive me to learn more truths about God. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the emotions and treat the truth aspect as secondary. We have to realize how they serve equal parts in our worship.
A powerful part of worship is music. Music in and of itself can invoke emotions in us without a single word. The great composers were masters of this. Bach, Chopin and Beethoven could stir up different emotions all in the same musical piece. Modern worship music is good at this too and is a reason it is so easy to push truth to the back burner and worship only in spirit. I can’t allow melodies and musical dynamics which lead me into the spirit side of worship become my only focus and lose track of the truth. Music is a support and should help in bringing the two parts into one.
To bring emphasis back to the truth part of worship, I dwell on the words and meanings of the worship songs I listen to and sing. I like to break down what is being said or conveyed to really understand the song. Songs don’t always just come out and say what they mean. Music is an art and can sometimes use metaphors and indirect avenues of conveying meaning. I want my worship to be filled with truths of who God is and who he says I am which bring forth emotions of peace, gratefulness, passion, brokenness and most of all love.
Let us be a church that doesn’t just worship with emotion and because the music is good.
Let us be a church who digs into discovering who God is and those discoveries inspiring us into an emotional, worshipful experience with God.