You are Free to Worship in Spirit and Truth


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Who, what, and how you and I worship is important. Jesus said we MUST worship in spirit and truth. What does that mean? We are free to worship... but how?

Did you know the word worship is used 496 times in the NLT version of the Bible? 496 times. Do you think worship is important to God?

You and I were created to worship and we will worship someone or something. It’s built in. I think that’s why God spoke about it so often. Who, what, and how we worship is important to Him.

Who – Followers of Jesus know who we worship . . . the Triune God—Father, Son (Jesus), and Spirit.

I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. Exodus 20:5

We tend to think of “other gods” as those worshipped by other religions . . . Allah, Buddha, etc. But is it possible that even followers of Jesus have a struggle with worshipping lower-case gods. Celebrities. Ourselves. Our children. I wonder. Maybe the who is harder than we think.

What – We shouldn’t have any whats but that can be hard.

“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Luke 16:13

Then there’s this. Oh, how we love to worship our stuff. Anything that gives us comfort or makes us look good. I won’t mention any specifics because, well . . . we’d be here for days.

How – So many ways to worship, but Jesus summed up the how in one sentence.

For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24

We make it so much more complicated don’t we? We disagree more on worship style than on anything else. There is traditional, contemporary, rock, folk, liturgical, non-liturgical, with instruments, without instruments, dancing, clapping, raised hands, bowed heads, and I’m sure I’ve missed something. There are as many worship styles as there are churches.

Who, what, and how you and I worship is important. Jesus said we MUST worship in spirit and truth. What does that mean? We are free to worship... but how?

What does how we worship have to do with freedom?


I’ll be honest here. I think I’ve experienced almost every one of those worship styles at one time or another and although I have my preferences that’s all they are . . . preferences.

[Tweet “There is no one right or wrong way to worship. Oh, wait! Yes, there is.”]

The one and only right way to worship God is “in spirit and truth.” That’s it!

Not the right kind of music or formula. Not how the service sounds or what it looks like. Worship is a matter of the heart and the mind. (spirit and truth)

What does it mean to worship in spirit (heart) and truth (head)?

Worshipping in spirit is God’s Holy Spirit uniting with our hearts and filling us with awe and adoration for the King of kings and Lord of lords. I call it take my breath away awe. It can happen at any time and any place.

Worshipping in truth is knowing Jesus and what He taught about His Father . . . through Bible study, prayer and yes, the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

The right way to worship is not about me. It’s not about you either. It’s about the Spirit helping us to set our hearts and minds on the awesome God of the universe. It’s about singing loud or singing soft. Clapping or not. Even dancing like David on occasion.

Worship is about setting aside my preferences and focusing on God.

Do you ever sit there during a service and think:

  • I hate this song.
  • Wow, that musician is terrible.
  • I can’t believe the reader wore that to church.
  • The pastor really didn’t hold my attention today.
  • Why can’t we just go back to the way things used to be?
  • What is wrong with this music, you can’t even sing along?

Okay, that’s enough. And yes, I’m guilty of some of those myself.

My resolution going forward in The Faith Project is to remember that worship is not about me.

I’m going to say it again.

Worship is not about me.

It’s not about you either.

Worship is setting our hearts and minds on praising God. Not just when we’re gathered with other followers, but every day.

It’s about stopping daily to sit at His feet and worship Him. Praising God for who He is even more than I thank Him for what He does.

And then, when I’m gathered with others turn my heart and mind from my preferences and surrender my all to Him. Isn’t that really what worship is about anyway?

If you were blessed by this . . . please tell your friends.

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  1. Great post! I so agree with how easily we can become preoccupied with style over content when it comes to worship, focusing on the how to the point that we forget about the what. But the thing that really challenged me in this is being reminded of the lower case gods we can sometimes allow ourselves to become entangled in or give too much place too. For me, it is often the most subtle means by which my worship can be compromised. This is a great reminder of how important it is to ‘examine our hearts’ and put a check on the ways it can sometimes stray.

    1. Micah, Thank you so much for visiting and joining the conversation. I needed to write this for me. My focus gets off track so easily as I make the unimportant lower-case gods the center of my attention. I enjoy so much more peace and joy when I keep my focus on worshipping God and faithfully remember it’s just not about me. Blessings to you!

  2. Mardene Carr says:

    I had to laugh at the questions asked about sitting in church and thinking certain things. We have all been there BUT when we think that the only worship that God accepts is the one done in spirit and truth, that should bring us back to reality

    1. Amen, Mardene. Rev laughed when he read the questions too. I think we’ve all asked them before, probably more often than we’d like to admit. Always praying that my heart and mind stay set on worshipping God – Father, Son, and Spirit. Blessings!

  3. Very true Deb. Worship is not about me. I tend to believe that one who walks out saying, “I didn’t get anything from that today” is revealing more about his/her heart than about the music, sermon, or whatever. How can someone possibly walk out and not know they praised and honored and glorified God? When they do, they know it is not about them. we were close to the same thought today Deb. my blog was about we become what we behold.

    1. Our thoughts are very similar today. I’m afraid I’ve too often allowed the externals to distract me from true worship. Praying to stay close to the Savior worshipping in spirit and truth.

  4. it’s all about Him…. 🙂

  5. No, worship is never about any one of us; it is all about honoring and praising our awesome God. However, being an active part of the contemporary worship service at my church, can distract me from my whole reason for being there in the first place. I’m thinking more about how my singing sounds than letting the Holy Spirit simply take over and go with the flow. I remind myself constantly that this is NOT a performance, it is an act of adoration. Blessings, Deb!

    1. Oh, I hear you, Martha. I have a constant battle with myself. Setting my heart and mind on Jesus. Just worshipping whether on Sunday morning or an average weekday afternoon. As Ann Graham Lotz would say, “Just give me Jesus.” Blessings my friend!

  6. I love this simple, yet often overly complicated truth, Deb! Personally, I’ve noticed how easily I turn worship into a checklist item. Check – did that one for the day! When I know that is not what He has called me to. I don’t want worship to be another item on my list, I want it to fill all the places and spaces in between – my very life glorifying Him. Still working on that, one day at a time.

    1. Amen, Katie. I love that . . . I want worship to fill all the places and spaces of my life. I think we will always be working on that. And may we never stop!

  7. Great message about worship. Oh to be led by the Holy Spirit in all things, especially worship. After a time of worship, I am amazed at how effortlessly things work out!

    1. Thank you, Mary. It is all by the power of His Spirit. Praying to let that power flow through me especially in worship. God bless you!

  8. So many great points. Thankyou for sharing.

  9. Anna Smit says:

    Yes, yes and yes! Especially this: “The right way to worship is not about me. It’s not about you either. It’s about the Spirit helping us to set our hearts and minds on the awesome God of the universe. It’s about singing loud or singing soft.”

    I LOVE worshipping at church because I am moved to by the Spirit and surrounded by His Body, a Body also moved in Spirit. I am also always stunned by how the lyrics always mirror things I’ve been meditating on in His Word. I am also filled with joy as He opens my heart to see/hear/sense His Presence around me and draws me into praise and thanksgiving during the week.

    1. Oh, Anna, when the body is moved by the Spirit to worship as one. That is indeed a small taste of heaven. What a blessing to be able to join together to give God glory and then carry that on into our weeks. Awesome!

  10. Amen Deb! I want to worship my Savior in Spirit and in Truth. i am amazed and blessed when that is my focus and desire. It is easy to think “I’ve heard this before or I know this scripture but when I truly seek Him, He always reveals something new that speaks to me!. Oh what a blessing! Have a wonderful weekend my friend. God bless

    1. Too often the surface gets in the way of true worship. How things look, what I like, what everyone else is doing. Whew, definitely out of focus. Praying to be surrendered and filled to simply worship by His Spirit and in His truth. God bless you!

  11. What a great word, Deb!
    Worship is not about me! It is all about Him!
    Thanks for the reminder to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
    Sharing this today on FB.
    Hope you have a blessed day~

    1. Thank you so much, Melanie! Your encouragement is such a blessing. Thank you too for spreading the word. Many blessings my friend.

  12. Hi Deb, Great post on worship. So many times we get worship so very wrong. As you said, it’s not about any one person; it’s about the Lord. I’m guilty as charged about complaining about certain things in worship. I’m committed to changing my ways. My goal is to worship the Lord every day.


  13. Debbie W. says:

    Great post Deb. Yes, it’s about sitting at His feet every day. Until I did that, I did not grow like I have today.

  14. We do have a way of cluttering up our hearts when we come to worship. I always appreciate your focus. It’s not about me – I’m privileged to make much of the God of the universe!

  15. Worship is about setting aside my preferences and focusing on God. AMEN! I do have my preference I’m comfortable with, but I know there are many others who would be uncomfortable with my preference. I believe many of us would have a heart attack if we could see a worship service from the Bible days. Thanks, Deb, for sharing your heart and sharing with Thankful Thursdays.