I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire. (Luke 24:32)
What does it mean to worship in spirit and truth?
Jesus said to worship in spirit and truth, but it’s so mysterious. What did He mean?
I don’t have all the answers, but let’s look at the context.
In John chapter four Jesus was talking to the woman at the well. At one point she tried to pull a fast one and told Jesus, “I have no husband.”
This is important. When we come to God, we must come to Him in truth. This woman did not.
She was quibbling. She was being deceptive while not outright speaking lies.
But Jesus called her out on it: “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”
Boom. You don’t come to Jesus quibbling, being evasive, being deceptive.
Then she took another strategy. Change the subject.
She said, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
Then Jesus said, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.”
So we are looking at the question, what did Jesus mean when He said we must worship in spirit and truth.
I said look at the context, and the context is that the woman at the well was asking about the proper physical location on earth where we should go to worship God.
But Jesus didn’t give her a physical location. Instead, He gave this mysterious answer, “The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth…”
I take that to mean that we don’t have to go to some specific physical location to worship God, because worship is our spirit rising up in worship and adoration to God, and that can be done anytime, anywhere.
That seems simple enough, right? Sometimes we think of worship as singing in a congregation at a church service in a church building, and that certainly can be worship.
But worship can also be at home, at midnight, lying in bed, in silence, not uttering a single word out loud, but worshiping “in spirit.”
Now what about “in truth”? He said to worship “in spirit and truth.” What does it mean to worship “in truth”?
It probably has layers of meaning, but back to the context. The woman did not initially come to Jesus “in truth.” She was quibbling. She was evasive, and for a lot of good reasons.
But we are told to worship God “in truth.” I think that means we come to God with no guile, no falseness, no ego, no pride, no hidden motives.
I think of the old Billy Graham altar call song, “Just as I am…oh Lamb of God, I come.”
So what does it mean to worship God in spirit and truth? I think it means we don’t have to go to some certain place to worship God. We can worship Him anytime, anywhere, in spirit, from our hearts. And we come to Him in truth, wide open, in honesty and humility, because He knows it all anyway, and that’s just another reason to worship Him. He knows us, and He loves us.
May God bless you today.
I’m Doug Apple.