John 4:24 tells us, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” In my early years as a Christian, I thought worship was simply singing the hymns before hearing the Sunday morning message. The old hymns are full of truth and insight I had never considered. The Spirit would help me understand truths written in the hymns by men hundreds of years ago. It always amazes me God’s truth never changes. But I will be honest, I sometimes felt as though it was drudgery getting through some of those old hymns before hearing the message.
Through the years, a couple that attended our church opened my eyes to the idea that worship service on Sunday morning is a primer to place me in the correct spirit before hearing the message. In other words, if I did Sunday morning worship in spirit and truth, my heart would be open to hear God’s word from the message given that morning. This new understanding greatly helped.
As the years went past, I would find myself worshiping God in ways I never considered worship – quiet times, alone. Being an early riser, many times I am outside in the morning looking at the stars and trying to consider just how big God’s universe really is – I can’t fathom the idea. I find myself singing the words of the old hymn, “O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed….. then sings my soul my savior God to thee, how great thou art, how great thou art.” I am worshiping in truth and spirit.
Other times I could be driving down the road and hear a Christian song on the radio that would about melt my heart. The song “I Could Only Imagine” tears me up every time I hear it. I do my best to sing along, but the Holy Spirit has hold of my heart, and my babbling is worshiping in truth and in spirit.
All this to say, for me, worshiping in truth and spirit can and does happen for me on Sunday mornings. But I also find that when I am quiet and alone the Spirit speaks to my heart (seeing the stars, hearing a special song on the radio, etc…) I find myself worshiping God in truth and spirit. I find myself out of the picture and my focus on the God who loves me. How Great Thou Art.
- Lynn Stephens