There I was, as a visitor, sitting on a wooden pew in a place so familiar. My grandmother and the rest of the choir was singing one of my childhood favorites, “Get Right Church and Let’s Go Home.” I naturally wanted to do a little rock and clap but couldn’t, not that day. I had been questioning what was natural to me when it came to worship. My Dad’s words during his message, a few weeks before, had touched my heart. His words, “We must worship God in spirit and in truth” in reference to John 4:24 had been on repeat in my mind. He had also spoken about making sure everything we did was sincere concerning our worship, making sure our praise wasn’t a farce. What was my “in spirit and truth?”, had been my question. I grew up in church watching my grandmother and mother do an occasional rock and clap. It seemed right, it felt right, but was it sincere. I wasn’t sure. So, I continued to sit there stiff on that wooden pew the remainder of the service, doing my best not to offend God with anything that was not genuine.
That spiritual stiffness continued on for a few weeks. I would reflect on every move I made, everything I felt, everything I said, and where exactly it came from. Was it a sincere praise from my heart? After a while of stressing myself out, I finally had a break through. It began with this scripture:
Romans 12:1 [NLT]
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
We were made to worship God with our whole body. Our worship can be accompanied by an occasional song or maybe even a rock and a clap but worship is so much more. Worship is about how we honor God with our entire lives. We do this simply by giving Him everything we’ve got to fulfill the purpose He has for our lives.
I also began to realize that a portion of worship is learned. As it is supposed to be according scripture. We are taught facets of worship through experiences and practice. I think of the scriptures describing Eunice and Lois and how they raised Timothy.
2 Timothy 2:3 [NLT]
But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:5 [NLT]
I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.
Through them I find practice to be good but it is necessary that we teach ourselves and others as they taught Timothy. They taught him to worship the Lord in spirit and truth, with his whole heart, and with his whole body. Worship begins from within. They also taught him scripture and genuine faith. We must do the same.