Most people think of worship in the context of music and singing, and that was all I knew. I started searching the Bible to find what Jesus meant when He spoke about worship in spirit and truth. I came to understand this; our spiritual act of worship is to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God – Romans 12:1. Worship is praising God in every area of your life. Before priests sacrificed animals, they had to certify that the gift on the altar was without blemish. In the same way, we need to sanctify ourselves to enter His presence daily.
Worship is not singing worship songs on a Sunday; instead, worship is about living right with God, purifying our bodies, and renewing our minds daily. Reading scripture, we become knowledgeable about living a life that can be a life of worship to God. Before Jesus arrived, worship was an outward expression and guided by strict laws.
WORSHIP IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
In the Old Testament, the law guided worship as a gauge. It was location-specific, regulatory, and housed in a sanctuary:
Where to worship – Worship took place in a temple, on a mountain, or a specific location that God chose. People depended on prophets to hear from God. They could not offer their burnt offerings and sacrifices wherever they chose. They had to use a place which the Lord chose – Deuteronomy 12: 13-14.
Sacrifices – Sacrifices had to atone for the sins of the people. Without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sins. Deuteronomy 12: 6 “There you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the offerings of your hand, your vows, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and your flocks.”
WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH
Christ is the center of worship in the New Testament, not a meeting place or a building. The Holy Spirit, sent to us by Jesus after He ascended, guides, and counsels us in our worship. 1 Corinthians 3: 16, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” True worship is an act of expression that comes from the heart and is guided by the Holy Spirit. It is not an external, ritual experience. To connect with God, you need to purify yourself from the lust of the flesh. God is spirit and wants us to worship Him in spirit and truth. We need to pray, to communicate with Him, and recognize our dependence on Him in every matter of our lives. He does not require us to worship Him religiously – but to worship Him lovingly.
We need sanctification and daily meditation of the Bible – the inspired word of God. Purification or external cleansing processes such as the washing of hands, feet, and clothing is no longer a rule as in the Old Testament. Through Jesus Christ, sanctification is an inner cleansing of the spirit man.
When we speak God’s word, we worship Him by telling others about the truth, which is the Word of God. Sanctification, through the word of God, cleanses the mind and the spirit man. Study the Bible to gain revelation and a deep understanding of who God is – John 7: 15-16.
John 1: 14 – “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Reading the Word of God is an act of worship
Matthew 22: 37 – 40, Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.