Chris Cruz is a pastor at Bethel Church and blogger that focuses on making heaven and earth one. Chris will be a revival group pastor at this year’s WorshipU On Campus event and offers unique, passion-filled perspectives on living out our faith in the modern world. Read below as Chris shares what it means to worship in spirit and in truth.
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” – A.W. Tozer
How we see God determines so much of our relationship with Him. Our image or understanding of Him molds our actions towards Him. Therefore it is critical that we consider not just how we see Him but that we also consider, what is informing our understanding of Him?
Truth is a foundational part of worship and just as in any relationship, knowing the truth of who someone is, solicits a response accordingly. It either compels us to respond with love, or repels us, based on that truth. It is the same in our relationship with God. This is why Jesus tells us that our Father is looking for those who will not only worship him in Spirit but in truth. Meaning, it is important that we worship God from a clear, true revelation of who He is, not through the lens of our bad memories or misunderstandings.
“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” John 4:24
Jesus is saying to experience truth is to experience who God is at the core of Him, the authentic essence of Him. Jesus fully revealed the Father in order to offer the truth necessary to worship the Father. He knows if we can’t see Him clearly, we won’t see ourselves, and our relationship and our worship will be skewed.
In other words, the incarnation of the Word of God, Jesus, cancels all wrong perceptions of God. When God became flesh it pressed the delete button on all the wrong images we have or could have of Him. Jesus is the image of our invisible God and it is in knowing Him, we will see who God is and who we are. This is the foundation of worship.
As our understanding of God is informed by our understanding of Jesus, our worship flourishes and our passion increases. It’s similar to how my journey into adulthood changed the way I approach my parents. As the true understanding of who they are emerged, so did my thankfulness for the sacrifices they made for me as a child. Who do you understand God to be? Do you feel you need to earn God’s love? Do you think He is far away or uninterested? Do you think He is going to punish you? If your answer is yes, to any of these, then the Father wants to dismantle your wrong perceptions of Him, He wants to reveal truth.
You see, truth doesn’t just set us free from our pain, it empowers us to worship.
Worshiping the Father, in truth empowers you to express your love in profound ways. Your worship is no longer a method of coercing God for His attention or affection. Your worship becomes a pure response to who you know Him to be, in spirit and truth. Jesus revealed that the truth about God is that He would rather die than forsake you. This leads me into a worship experience rooted in the union I have with God.
I no longer fight to bring Him closer, but in the light of Jesus, I know the Father has and continues to come close to me.
It is the revelation of the Father through the Son that we find a God who is mindful of us. His attention is already on us, and newsflash, He doesn’t need convincing that you are worth His attention. God’s love sent Jesus into the world. It was His wanting of us that initiated the union we have with Him. The essence of our worship then, is that God is far kinder than we expect. We can’t dream up a better love, do your best. It only pales in comparison to the truth of who He is.
If the God you are worshiping wouldn’t choose you, unless you choose Him, then you’re still not worshiping in the truth of the Father. The truth is, He adores you and gave everything for you!