In the last few posts, we’ve explored this idea about worship being a life laid down, the place where sacrifice and obedience come together through our trust in the Lord. We looked at King Saul as an example of one who never truly laid down his life before the Lord. We saw from scripture that he never really was intimate with God, and that he never really trusted nor obeyed him. We learned that King Saul offered his sacrifices in an attempt to manipulate events and people. Then, we looked at the life of Abraham, and discovered that although his was not the perfect life, it was one laid down before God in intimate trust and exhibited true worship in the ultimate act of sacrifice and obedience. Actually, what really got me thinking about worship being a life laid down is the story of Jesus and the woman at the well.
One of my favorite passages in all of scripture is John 4, the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. I talk about it frequently and have written about it as well. It’s really no surprise that it was this passage that got me thinking about worship in a way I’ve not previously considered. Usually, when people talk about John 4 and the topic of worship, it’s always the part about worshiping in spirit and truth. And rightly so; Jesus did say the Father is seeking those who will worship him in this way. For me though, I began to see that worshiping in spirit and in truth is synonymous with worship being a life laid down. Walk with me.
If you recall, when Jesus and the woman began their conversation Jesus had asked her for a drink of water, and then commented that if she knew who he was, she’d ask him to give her a drink of the “living-water.” He went on to tell her that this living- water (Holy Spirit) would be to her a spring of water “welling up to eternal life.” As their conversation went on, Jesus told her to go and get her husband. Jesus was revealing to her the truth about the “well” she had been drawing from all of her life- men. She had tried repeatedly to quench the thirst of her heart through various relationships with men. Now, here with Jesus, this was the moment when she had to admit the truth. Then the woman brought up religion and the different way in which the Jews and the Samaritans worshipped. She reminded Jesus that the Samaritans claimed that you were supposed to worship God at one place while the Jews maintained that the temple in Jerusalem was the only place to worship God. Jesus pointed out to her the fact the time had come in which the true worshipers of God would be those who worshiped God in spirit and in truth, with no respect to locale. At this point, the woman said, “I know that Messiah is coming, and he will explain everything to us.” Jesus told her plainly, “You’re talking to him.”
See, here’s the deal. God is spirit and you have to have the Holy Spirit in order to be a true worshiper of God. And, the only way to receive the Holy Spirit is by laying your life down to Jesus. He is the Messiah who has come to “explain everything to us,” to reveal to us the truth about the Father, and the truth about us as well. He is the one who gives us the Spirit. It’s like he told the woman at the well, “If you want the living-water, you ask me.” The only worship acceptable to the Father is the true spiritual worship that proceeds from the hearts of those who, through their trust in Jesus, have been made to drink of God’s Holy Spirit. Worship is more than just keeping a bunch of rules, or offering sacrifices at a specified temple. The time has come that sacrifice and obedience must come together in a life laid down through trust in Jesus, the one who makes possible true spiritual worship through the giving of the Holy Spirit.