Feasting on the word this morning.
Reading the account of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-26), I paused at verses 23 and 24:
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth.”
Curious to understand what Jesus meant by “in spirit and truth,” I dug a little deeper into the original language. “Spirit” in Greek is pneúma. It means the rational spirit, mind, element of life. “Truth” in Greek is alétheia meaning truth, verity, reality. In these verses, “spirit and truth” pertain to “truth, love of truth, both in words and conduct, meaning sincerity, veracity; with a sincere mind, with sincerity of heart, not merely with eternal rites.”*
Pondering what it means to “worship the Father in spirit and truth,” I pictured a diagram of the respiratory system as might be found in a science textbook. We breathe in fresh air. It fills our lungs, oxygenates our blood, benefits us in countless ways, and then we breathe out the carbon dioxide. Similarly, with the Spirit of God, we take in the word of God, it renews our minds and nourishes our soul. . .and then what?
What we do with the spirit of God in us is up to us. If we are abiding in Jesus, we are worshiping him in truth, in true sincerity and not just on display for others to see. Do my actions and the words I speak to others align with what I truly believe in my heart? If I am in a worship service singing praise songs loudly and raising my hands to heaven, is that a reflection of what is inside of me or merely a reflection of what those around me are doing? Conversely, if the Spirit of God lives in me, am I living out my faith by speaking life into the lives of others and carrying out acts of mercy, or am I hiding the light within me?
It seems a challenge to worship God with our whole heart, indeed with our life. It involves a continual checking of our motives through the filter of faith. But if I’m seeking the kingdom of God above all, it is a natural act of worship.
With every breath.
(*from The Complete Word Study Dictionary by Spiros Zodhiates, 1993.)