Relevant Worship

But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (‭John‬ ‭4‬:‭23-24‬ NASB)

God is no longer concerned about the place where you worship because worship is about more than location and prescribed rituals. God seeks worshipers who will worship Him from the heart under the initiation and guidance of the Spirit as informed by Scripture. This is the only real worship.

God seeks worshipers who will genuinely worship Him in a way that is initiated, guided, and empowered by the spirit and informed by His truth, His Word. He is not concerned about worship happening in a particular location. He is not interested in worship that is simply a rote reenactment of prescribed rituals that is not done in spirit and truth. In fact, because God is spirit, there is no other way to worship Him but in spirit and truth.

God seeks worshipers. Therefore, He initiates worship. He has allowed us the honor of worshiping Him.

But many of the things that concern us in worship are not important, not even relevant. What is relevant? The Spirit, His guidance, and the Word of God as it informs our worship. We must focus on these things.

When we forget these things, we go through the motions in our worship. Those of us who are worship leaders are sometimes just trying to get through a Sunday. We get overly concerned about all the details.

But what each of us needs, regardless of our role in corporate worship – whether leader or participant – is to focus our hearts on God’s Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When we worship privately, we must begin with a focus on God’s Word and His Spirit. It doesn’t matter where we are or who we are.

It is not in our nature to be this kind of worshiper, but His grace can change our nature.

Father, let us be the kind of worshipers You seek.

Honor: Not Taken, But Given

And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (‭Luke‬ ‭14‬:‭7-11‬ NASB)

Jesus told a parable to the dinner guests: when you’re invited to a wedding feast, don’t take the place of honor and then be forced to take the last place when the guest of honor arrives. Take the last place and receive honor when you’re asked to move up. He who exalts himself is humbled, and he who humbles himself is exalted.

My guess is that most of us would never assume we were to sit in a place of honor, but that is certainly not to say we would never act from a place of pride. I have rarely, if ever, experienced this kind of switch in a situation in which I’ve humbled myself. Have you? Perhaps we humble ourselves too begrudgingly? Or perhaps the exaltation occurs in God’s Kingdom and not within our worldly activities.

God values humility. He calls us to humble ourselves in every situation, even the ones in which we think we ought not. Don’t take honor for yourself. It’s not yours to take.

Honor is to be given.

God gives honor to those who display the humility He values, not to those who take honor or expect honor for themselves.

This is the opposite of human nature. Only by the grace of Christ can our character change in this way.