Read: But the time is coming- 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. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24 NLT).
Think About It: Being from a small town in Northeast Texas, I was never accustomed to life in the fast-paced busyness of the big city. For me, "fast-paced" was people traffic due to a big sale at the local Wal-Mart supercenter! So the first time I was in New York City was a wake-up call from my over simplistic idea of "city life." I remember walking the people-crowded streets with a group of friends and being overwhelmed with all the vendors and sellers of everything imaginable. Walking passed, we were approached by an individual who was seeking to give me a "great deal" on a genuine designer watch. It was beautiful. The face was a metallic blue, the band was a glistening silver, and the name on the back was a name that shouted "expensive!" The price, however, was surprisingly affordable and I jumped at the idea of owning a designer watch. I had just taken a glorious bite out of the "Big Apple." The following weekend, I had taken the watch to a local jewelry store to have it fitted for my wrist. The expression on the face of the jeweler clued me in that perhaps everything wasn't as it first appeared. The watch, she told me, was an impressive copy of a designer original. It wasn't what I thought it was. It wasn't authentic. It was a "look-a-like." It wasn't real. In fact, it wasn't too long after that that the watch stopped working altogether. I suppose it was the Big Apple that took a bite out of me.
Going Deeper: Jesus approached a similar issue of authenticity when He spoke with a Samaritan woman in a conversation at a water well. There was a racial/ethnic divide between Jews and Samaritans that made it culturally inappropriate that the two would ever be caught up in a conversation at all, let alone about the authenticity of worship. The woman challenged Jesus in regards to location of true worship. Jesus countered with a challenge to her perspective with a reality that authentic worship was not about the location of the worshiper, but about the heart of the worshiper. True worship wasn't about who was worshiping, or where they were worshiping, but WHO they were worshiping. Many people, churches, and organizations today have made a worship more than it was ever intended to be. For multitudes it has become about musical selections, styles, and what instruments get us closer to God. Worship is not about a song. It's more than a song. It can be approached and accomplished within the context of music, but is not limited to or strictly defined by music alone. One of the Greek words for worship literally means "to kiss." It directly implies intimacy. Worship is a matter of the heart. It is about living out a love song to the One who knows us, created us, loves us, and longs to be loved by us.Next Steps: If worship is to be truly authentic and real, it must first be personal. True worship can never be minimized to a "copy and paste" of someone else's worship to God. It must be sincere and from the heart. "Spirit and Truth" worship is real worship. It is a personal love song from your heart to the center of the heart of God. Pull out a sheet of paper. Write a personal note to Jesus. Tell Him that you love Him. Complete the following sentence: "Jesus, I thank You today because..." or "I love You because..." If there is a song that connects to your heart for Him, sing it. Sing it again. Make it personal. Let it be yours. Let it be true.