“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24)
Many believe that worshiping God is a matter of going to a place of worship, repeating or mumbling some religious words, using the right posture (like kneeling or raising hands), singing or chanting some repetitive or familiar words, or even sticking some money into an offering box or basket. I call this physical or mechanical performances or rituals.
Pardon me, but is this really worshiping God? And He should be so pleased?? Is this what John had in mind when he wrote about worshiping God in spirit?
How about truth? Too many acts of “worship” are basically hypocritical! You worship God and have hatred in your heart? You worship God but you don’t really believe or trust Him? And you’ve done God a real favor, right? With tongue-in-cheek, God can hardly wait for a repeat performance from you next week?
NO! Worship is a heart issue!! God doesn’t need or want outward rituals or religious performances! He is interested in your HEART rather than in hypocritical jargon or play-acting. I don’t mean to “burst your bubble,” but if you are honest enough, I believe you would agree with God’s assessment of our pathetic attempts to “worship” Him – – He despises these!
If you really want to worship God, come before Him as a repentant sinner in need of His divine mercy. Ask Him for forgiveness of your sins. Plead with Him from your heart. Thank Him for His grace. Ask Him to give you a right spirit and a renewed truthful attitude. Turn to His Word, the Bible, to help you walk with Him and talk with Him (also called “prayer”). Ask Him to change your religious playing to righteous praying! You need to read Psalm 51:10!
A Prayer of Repentance
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David aWhen Nathan the Prophet Went to Him, After He Had Gone in to Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
bBlot out my transgressions.
2 cWash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
4 dAgainst You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil ein Your sight—
And blameless when You judge.
5 gBehold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
7 hPurge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be iwhiter than snow.
8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken jmay rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
10 kCreate in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your lHoly Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your mgenerous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For nYou do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 oThe sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.
18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You shall be pleased with pthe sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
a 2 Sam. 12:1 b [Is. 43:25; 44:22; Acts 3:19; Col. 2:14] c Jer. 33:8; Ezek. 36:33; [Heb. 9:14; 1 John 1:7, 9] d 2 Sam. 12:13 e [Luke 5:21] f Rom. 3:4 1 LXX, Tg., Vg. in Your wordsg [Job 14:4; Ps. 58:3; John 3:6; Rom. 5:12] h Ex. 12:22; Lev. 14:4; Num. 19:18; Heb. 9:19 i [Is. 1:18] j [Matt. 5:4] k [Ezek. 18:31; Eph. 2:10] l [Luke 11:13] m [2 Cor. 3:17] n [1 Sam. 15:22]; Ps. 50:8–14; [Mic. 6:6–8] o Ps. 34:18; [Is. 57:15]; 66:2 p Ps. 4:5 The New King James Version. (1982). (Ps 51). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.