John 4:23-24 Authentic Worship

This morning I read this verse...

"But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

It got me started thinking about what constitutes authentic worship. Jesus said we must worship "in spirit and truth", which is a phrase that rolls off my tongue easily enough, but what does it mean? How do I express worship each day?

He shows us two components to worship: spirit (not capital-s Spirit but lower case-s spirit, as in the spirit of man) and truth. I think Jesus is telling us we have to come to worship from the heart, not out of religiosity. If you know the passage this verse is from, you recognize that the Samaritan woman Jesus was talking to raised a religious argument, clearly a diversionary tactic meant to take the spotlight off of her questionable moral life, but Jesus hones in on the bare-bones description of what constitutes authentic worship instead of engaging in a discussion of where and how to worship. He doesn't let her get away with the diversion. He uses it like a ballistic missile aimed at her real need to understand what worship must be.
I think I understand what it means to worship in spirit, but I started to wonder what worship in truth means. I meditated on truth for a while and remembered that Jesus says, "I am..the truth..." in John 14:6. But what does it mean for a man, albeit God, to be THE truth? He tells the Samaritan woman, "Salvation is of the Jews" in verse 22. The Jews were the keepers of the Old Testament Scriptures that repeatedly predict the coming of Messiah, the Christ. That's the truth He refers to. It begins to dawn on me: Jesus is the truth. Jesus is the Messiah. I must worship Jesus to worship authentically!

But what does this mean in terms of my daily worship? I often find that this incredibly beautiful world He made brings me to my knees metaphorically--only because I'm so often in the car and unable to literally bow. I've been inspired (which means breathed into, the breath of God) by the splendor of nature since before being saved, but I have to tell you that the quality of that worship experience is a million-fold since coming to know Jesus personally.

I guess it's a little like personally knowing the author of a book. I have a friend, Pat, who writes novels. Before knowing her I might have read one of her manuscripts for the plot, the entertainment factor, or to solve a mystery, but knowing her I looked for little bits of her personality, evidence of our relationship, special insights on what we share. Knowing her makes the novel more personally involving, just as knowing Christ makes nature an ever-recurring affirmation of His character, beauty, love, provision, and so on.

My paintings are a form of worship, in that I express as well as I can the character of the Creator in my little recreation. Yesterday I completed a painting I began in my classroom a few weeks back. I've been exploring the color gray for several years now, and in one of my classes I attempt to show the incredible beauty of gray. I make my grays with a triad of colors, commonly using purple, orange and green. That makes a gray that's comprised of every color on the primary-secondary color wheel. Using ALL the colors makes for lively and vivid grays.

So you see that my painting, Gray Storm (11x17"on Wallis paper), has a lot of color in it! As I stood next to my woodstove and completed this painting I spent a lot of time praying, not about the place or even the painting. I was engaged in prayer for my husband, who was out ministering on the street to homeless people, and for my son, who had called me with an urgent prayer need. That's how the Lord often uses me! I consider it worship, in spirit and truth.


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