What happens when we “worship”?
Have you ever stopped and considered that? Whether it’s a formal prayer where your head is bowed and your eyes are closed or whether it’s driving along and singing a worship song at the top of your lungs…what happens when we worship?
Is it like an angelic game of gossip: angels hear us and pass the word along to God? “Hey God, one of your people is worshipping you.”
Conversely, is the Holy Spirit sitting right there with us and hearing us?
What happens when we worship?
Perhaps this was on the mind of a woman in the Bible when she got into an unexpected conversation with a Jewish man who broke virtually every social norm to talk to her. She was a woman traveling to a well during the day; this means she was rejected. She was by herself in a community-driven culture; this means she was lonely.
And recorded in John 4:1-26 we find an amazing meeting between two people who you’d never expect to cross paths: a rejected, lonely Samaritan woman and a Jewish man who was the Son of God.
And this gal started talking about worship. It was her way of changing the subject, but Jesus was using her apparent distraction attempt to focus all of us on the very nature of God. While she was talking about location of worship, Jesus responded to her in John 4:23-24:
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
“God is spirit.”
Was there any doubt in her mind? Is there any doubt in our minds? For all we can tell in Scripture, God (in either person, Father, Son, or Spirit) doesn’t have a physical body. When we read passages referring to His arms or legs, it’s probably best to take these as anthropomorphisms. Conversely, it seems He has some kind of body because recorded glimpses of Him in Heaven record such.
Jesus “clarifies” it by informing us that God is spirit. He doesn’t exist like we do. He isn’t bound by time, location, fatigue, or physical limitations. God is spirit. In three words, Jesus clarifies and confuses. It’s hard to relate to God in our terms because He isn’t bound by our terms. We are created in His image (Genesis 1:27) yet He isn’t physical and we are.
It can make your head hurt.
But Jesus isn’t just giving us a theological lesson; except insomuch to teach us what to do with it. By reminding us “God is spirit” (a lesson we learned throughout the Old Testament), Jesus goes on to rock this woman’s world when He adds, “his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Because God is spirit, it’s in the spiritual world we interact with Him. It’s in the depth of the human soul we do business with God. We are more than just flesh and blood. We can engage with Him because we are spiritual as well.
So what happens when we worship? Let this sink in before the next time you sing, pray, read the Bible, share your faith, give someone food, or otherwise engage in the lifestyle of worship because the short answer is nothing short of astounding: our souls touch our Creator, Sustainer, and Guide.
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