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Genuine Worship

Genuine Worship
John 4:23

This devotion follows along the verses from My Daily Light, May 13 a.m. edition.

It’s an important goal to have a real, meaningful interaction with God. Take these few minutes and focus on God’s Word, and listen for God’s Spirit to speak to you.

1 Timothy 2:8 (NLT)
8 In every place of worship, I want men 
(and women) to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.

This is not just lifting your hands during the songs of worship. To lift holy hands to God means to lift hands to God that are set apart, that are sanctified for God’s use, that are prepared for God’s use. It’s lifting up hands ready to be used for God. And, it’s lifting up hands that are free from anger and controversy. And that can be easier said than done – to lift up hands that are ready to be truly used by God that are sanctified by God’s use, that are free from anger and controversy. (If you’re wondering how you can do that, just keep on reading.)

John 4:23 (NLT)
23 But the time is coming 
(Jesus speaking)—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.

True worshipers, which implies (doesn’t it) that we can be false worshipers? Because we can be. And so, Jesus says, true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. Connect that to the previous verse where we’re called to lift up holy hands to God, hands that are ready for his use, hands that are free from anger and controversy, and then here, we’re called to worship God in spirit and truth. And then the verse says at the end The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.

So, in spirit, means our spirit worshiping God who is Spirit. Our spirit worshiping and connecting with God who is Spirit. We worship Spirit to spirit, our spirits connecting, which is the one-hundred-and-eighty-degree opposite of just going through the religious motions. And worshiping in truth means in genuine, honest worship. As our first verse said, lifting hands ready to be used in God’s service, free from anger and controversy.

Continuing into the next verse, John 4:24 says,

John 4:24 (NLT)
24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”


God IS Spirit, so we can’t just go through some religious motions to worship him. We’ve got to worship him in our spirit and in genuine truth.

Continuing this idea of what it takes to worship God in spirit and truth, we look at Hebrews 11:6.

Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)
6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.


We must come to God in faith and with faith. And when we come to worship him, we’ve got to come fully and completely believing God. We’ve got to come believing that he absolutely exists, and we’ve got to come believing that he will respond – even reward us – as we sincerely seek him. Sincerely seek him to worship him in spirit and truth, lifting up holy hands, free from anger and controversy.

But the problem is, we can’t. We can’t because we are not automatically ready to worship God at this level of spirit and truth – the level of spirit and truth that he calls us to. So, if we can’t just automatically be in that place, then what do we have to do to get into that place?

We’ve got to first make our hearts right with God. We’ve got to first get right with God relationally. If we want to genuinely worship God in spirit and truth, we must first address our own sin. We’ve got to first address the sin in our life that so easily separates us from God, relationally. And so often (this is critical) that sin is unforgiveness. And the sin of unforgiveness must be addressed before we can worship God in spirit and in truth.

Mark 11:25 (NLT)
25 
(Jesus says) But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

There are so many verses in the New Testament that tie our relational oneness with God to our forgiveness of other people. Our right standing with God is so tied to our commitment to forgive other people. Notice here in Mark 11:25 the “so that”. First forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins too.

Now, this is not a condition of salvation – we know that. We know that our salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ alone. This is a condition of your relational rightness, or your relational oneness, with God. We cannot walk in a right relationship with God while we are holding unforgiveness toward other people. We can’t do it. God says we’ve got to make that right first.

And so, if this verse hits you hard, if this one hits you between the eyes, go after the devotion. Go to MyDailyChurch.com and under the teaching tab, search the word “Forgiveness.” And you’ll get some really good messages on this critical subject.

Whatever the sin is that is separating you relationally from God, that’s keeping you from being able to genuinely worship the Lord, you’ve got to begin by confessing that sin.

Psalm 66:18 (NLT)
18 If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.


If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened because unconfessed sin separates us relationally from God. And so, we’ve got to be really quick to confess our sins, to ask God to forgive our sin, and then we may have to go make things right with someone else if necessary so that we can be restored to that right relationship with God – so that we can enter into this genuine worship of God in spirit and in truth, because that is truly the way that God id desiring us to worship him.

1 John 1:9 (NLT)
9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness 
(or some translations read all unrighteousness).

This is true in a salvation sense, but it is also true in a relational sense. We’ve got to keep short accounts with God. We cannot let our unconfessed sins build up until those sins fully separate us from God. Instead, we’ve got to confess our sin to God knowing that he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us, and to restore us to a right relationship with him.

Finally, one last encouragement.

1 John 2:1-2 (NLT)
1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.
2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.


Listen, Jesus Christ has paid for your sin. Positionally it is paid for. And if you have received him by faith as your Savior, then he has given you his righteousness. And when sin separates you from God, you can know that Jesus Christ is there as your Advocate pleading your case by saying to the Father, “Father, this one is mine. This is one of mine. They are washed in the blood, they are forgiven, and they now stand in my righteousness.”

We can be restored to a right relationship with God – today. Through the work of Jesus Christ and by the confession of the sin that is separating us from God, and by us asking God to forgive us, we can become genuine worshipers – those who are worshiping God in spirit and in truth.

And so, right now, would you respond to God? Would you respond to God in light of these verses today? Maybe even go back and read through them again. Maybe grab a journal or your Bible and make some personal notes on how the Holy Spirit has been speaking to you in these moments. Somehow, in some way, you’ve got to respond to God. Take a minute – a least one literal minute – to pour your heart out to God.

I pray that you have connected with God today. I pray that you have heard him speak to you, and I pray that you have responded to him in faith. I know that the Word of God, lit alive by the Holy Spirit will absolutely transform your life. Have an awesome day as a genuine worshiper of God in spirit and in truth.

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