Posted by: Veroni Kruger | April 24, 2010

“Transactional worship”?

Still working on that book. Let me know what you think

The words of Jesus in John 4.23 are key to any consideration of worship: that God wants to be worshipped, and that He desires to be worshipped in “truth and in spirit.” In an objective sense worshipping “in truth” may refer to worshipping God for who He really is. In the person who worships I believe it refers to worshipping in sincerity

It is important that we worship in sincerity, giving everything of ourselves as we worship. Isaiah 29.13 is relevant here.

The Lord says: these people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up of rules taught by men.

It is no good going through the motions of worship, if your heart is not in it. Remember that Jesus said that God seeks those who will worship Him in “truth”. You might as well not worship Him at all, if you do not worship Him in sincerity. God is always more interested in what goes on in our hearts than in the things we do.

I am not speaking here of an emotional inclination to worship God. There will be times when we do not feel like worshiping God. Sincerity in our relationship with Him, will, however, compel us to begin worshiping Him in spite of our feelings. Campus Crusade for Christ published a tract about salvation, in which they portrayed the relative roles of the Word of God, faith and feelings as a train consisting of a locomotive, one coach and the guard’s van or caboose. The Word of God should be the driving force that we rely on by our faith, i.e. the locomotive in the picture. The coach is our faith, hanging on to what God’s Word says. The caboose follows, as a picture of our feelings. In our walk with the Lord, our feelings follow, sometimes sooner and sometimes later. Feelings are not important for the fact of salvation. In the same way, our sincerity in worship is towards the Lord, regardless of what we feel at any given time.

As we approach worshiping God, we do so in the sincerity of faith, because we have made a conscious decision to be his followers, and we know one of our privileges as his followers is to worship Him.

It is good to remember when we worship that the one who made each of us to be different from all other people, is God. This implies that each one of us is precious to Him as a personal work of art. This, in turn, implies that the particular manner in which each of us will be worshipping Him, is precious to Him. We should therefore not try to worship the Lord in the way we see other people doing it, except in so much that the example of other people may be helpful to us. What is important is the sincerity of the worshipper’s heart, and that each one should come before the Lord in sincerity, transparent before Him, eager to please only Him.

Our worship will be sincere if we see it as an expression of our love for the Lord. There are many ways in which we express our love for the Lord. Yet, the purest form in which we give expression to our adoration of Christ is worship. The woman in Luke 7.36-50 is a model for worship. Notice her disregard of what other people might be thinking: the fact that she was “gatecrashing” a party given by a Pharisee did not deter her from worshipping Jesus; the comments made on her being a “sinful woman” were not enough to keep her from pouring out her love in a very visible and tangible matter; the expense associated with the sacrifice (so great that at least one of the disciples expressed his unhappiness: “Why this waste?” – Matthew 26.8); all these things prove how eager she was to express her love for Jesus.

Our adoration should be superabundant because God’s love to us has been superabundant. Think in this regard of Luke 7.47: “Therefore, I tell you her many sins have been forgiven – for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Sin cannot be quantified – either it is there, or it is not. The Pharisee had as many sins as the woman, simply because he was also a human being. In fact there is no human being that can claim to be “less sinful” than that sinful woman. There is irony in what Jesus said: It is not the fact of more or fewer sins that determine the intensity of our worship. Rather, it is whether we realize the enormity of the redemption that has enabled us to approach God.

Although we should not be judgmental, it does seem as if this truth was lost on the Pharisee, as it is lost on many believers today.

Sincerity also has something to do with our motive in worship.

Our definition reads:

Worship takes place when those who are born again focus by faith on the presence of God in love, respect and wondering amazement with the exclusive desire to please the Lord.
“Exclusive desire to please the Lord”? Is that even possible to the naturally self-centred human heart? It has to be, if Jesus said that is how we should worship. It is easy to practice “transactional” worship: I will worship the Lord for what I expect to get out of the deal. But that is not true worship.

It IS impossible, except by the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer. But we will get to that next time.



  1. I agree that worship speaks from a deaper personal relationship with God becuase Jesus made it possible for us by giving us direct access to God and through the Holy Spirit our words (which are limited to describe God and to really give honour and Him) can be “translated” (Romans 8:26 & 27) on our behalf! As long as we are honest in our manner of worship and accept people that worship differently in the Christian World God is honoured – worshiped, and that is all that really matters! God is worthy of our worship!


  2. Thanks Veroni – the truth is sometimes difficult to make our own, but as you point out, Jesus said it, so we should lay hold of it. Transactional worship – ouch…that hurts, but it hits the ‘truth’ spot.


  3. Thanks for this “insight” Veroni. I believe that God has created us to worship Him for His pleasure. When Satan fell, he took a third of the angels with him, and many, if not most of them, were most probably the songleaders, choirs and worshippers in heaven. What a wonderful thought, that God created us and then redeamed us through Jesus Christ, to fill that vacuum. To worship Him in truth, integrity and with intensity. Be blessed. Monty.


  4. Thank you Veroni. Rom 12.1 comes to mind.”Therefore, I urge you, brothers,in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship” Can you explain this a bit more. How important are our bodies in worshipping God? How ‘spiritual’ should our bodies get? Just my own struggle.
    Keep on, move forward:-)


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Alexander F. Venter

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