Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of a three-part series.
“To worship God is paying attention to nobody else but God,” says Pruitt, 11. “If you don’t do it, it sort of messes you up. You can worship him anywhere.”
“It sort of messes you up” is a great way to describe our preoccupation with ourselves. God wants to take us into a larger place where he’s in control, and we can relax by trusting in him.
Pruitt also says we can worship God anywhere. Although this is true, don’t try to pass off a round of golf on Sunday morning as a worship experience.
God accepts worship from Christians meeting in houses, fields, caves and even beautiful cathedrals. In countries like China and Saudi Arabia, Christians meet secretly because authorities could break in and arrest them for worshiping God.
God is more concerned about the condition of our hearts than the appearance of buildings where worshipers meet. Jesus once told a woman at a well, “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23)
The “how” and “whom” of worship is more important than the “where.” Pilgrims travel thousands of miles because they imagine that a so-called holy place will bring them closer to God. Others spend millions on ornate church buildings for the same reason.
The idea of connecting God’s presence to a building is an Old Testament concept. The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70. God now dwells in the hearts of his people as foretold by the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31).
“When you worship God, you invite Him to come and fill you with the Holy Spirit,” says Kaylee, 12. “You pray and sing to him through your heart. You read your Bible and just let him speak to you. When you worship God, you honor Him and give Him glory. That’s the whole reason we are even here on Earth.”
“Worshiping God means to spill our heart out to God and let him receive it so that he can fill it with the love of his presence,” says Natalie, 13.
Jesus spilled his life out to God to pay for our sins. All who have received the Lord’s life by faith alone in Christ alone can experience a life filled with God’s love. There’s a realm where God is all in all. In order to be filled with God’s spirit, there must be an emptying of ourselves.
Jesus told his disciples that by losing their lives in following him, they would find their lives. Worshiping God in spirit and truth allows us to see him and what he is doing. When we make adjustments to be a part of his plan, he takes care of our life’s itinerary and accommodations. His plan for us, however, might not be the easiest because it’s full of challenges and adventures.
Life with God is never boring when we trade the certainty of our small life for the uncertainty of a faith-adventure. Worship allows us to walk in communion with a loving God who knows how to take us beyond our frailties and fears.
Think about this: The wonder of worship is that it “enables us to emerge from the straitjacket of our oversensitive preoccupation with our ‘feelings,’” writes scholar R. P. Martin. “We rise into the presence of God through a contemplation of Him in His goodness, beauty, and truth, and especially His redeeming acts.”
Memorize this truth: “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23)
Ask this question: Are you living in that larger realm where God is all?