Posted by: Veroni Kruger | May 5, 2010

God’s Spirit and yours in worship

ESSENTIAL ASPECTS OF THE CHURCH
Another excerpt from the book I am working on. Let me know what you think. (I suggest you read the previous sections if you haven’t done so already.)

WORSHIPPING IN SPIRIT

As we saw in the previous section, it is important to worship in truth. According to Jesus, it is equally important to worship “in Spirit” (John 4.23). A literal rendering of this verse (“in spirit and in truth”) does what literal renderings usually do, and that is to obscure the meaning. What Jesus was saying here is that true worship should focus on God for who He really is, and that such worship is possible only through the participation of the Holy Spirit.

Clever as we may think we are, our comprehension of God is, at best, limited by our being human.

Paul writes about this limitation in 1 Corinthians 2.11: “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the spirit of God.” There is no way in which the human brain can really comprehend who and what God really is. But the Spirit of God who lives in us knows Him, and is the only means through which our worship can even approach a realistic appreciation of who God is. Given the cerebral emphasis of much of theological activity, this is to some people probably a bitter pill to swallow. The biblical fact is, though, that there are things about God that only one’s spirit can comprehend through the working of the Holy Spirit in a human being’s spirit.

Our brains’ comprehension of who we are worshipping can only go so far. It is only the mystical union between the Spirit of God and our spirits working together that can produce realistic worship of God as He really is.

Worship in the sense that we are talking about here, presupposes that we use language in order to please God. As our minds are directed towards God we express our thoughts and feelings about Him with the exclusive desire to please Him. As we do this, the Holy Spirit directs our thoughts to God and inspires us to open our hearts towards God and to offer to Him our adoration and awe.

Another biblical fact is that the Holy Spirit chooses to give us a language that we cannot possibly know through intellectual exercise, to enable us to worship God in truth and Spirit. This is not to say that we only truly worship God when we do so in tongues: only that our worship is, as it were, enhanced when we allow the Holy Spirit to give us the medium of tongues. By the very nature of God, our worship is more realistic when we worship in tongues

I was privileged to be involved in the international dialogue between Pentecostals and Roman Catholics. During one of the times we met, as we sang together in English, one of the most highly qualified theologians from the Roman Catholic delegation stepped forward unexpectedly. “God is a transcendental Being, and it is impossible for us to truly worship Him in a human language. I invite you now to worship Him in the language that the Holy Spirit will give us.” We experienced a wonderful time of worship as we sang together in tongues.

Worshipping God in this way is both intense and intimate.

Paul speaks about the intimacy in 1 Corinthians 14.2 “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.” This means that when we speak to God in tongues, our worship is of the most intimate kind. It is in this intimate worship that God is glorified, and that we obtain the optimal benefits from our worship.

The best way to direct our thoughts to God is to exercise our minds contemplating his Word. In doing this, we prepare the way for the Holy Spirit to lead us in worship. In this manner, both the Word and Holy Spirit are involved in our worship.

Unfortunately different manifestations of the church have allowed a totally unnecessary and, in fact, imaginary conflict to develop between the Word and the Holy Spirit. There have been those who, possibly out of fear, have overemphasized the Word to the exclusion of the Holy Spirit. Often in this has led to a dry, almost dead, form of worship. On the other hand, there have been those who have overemphasized the Spirit to the exclusion of the Word. Thus has often led to licentiousness. The key in worship as in all activities of the church, is to maintain the balance between teaching from the Bible and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

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Responses

  1. thanks Veroni for your work on this book. It is good stuff, and much needed. you’re writing clearly, insightfully and accessible for the average follower of Jesus. thanks!

  2. A good section, with some timely reminders! Just a thought – I think that, in addition to the phrase being a response to “You (Samaritans) worship what you do not know” i.e. the ignorance of who God is, Jesus was also responding to the contradistinction in the woman’s mind between Mounts Gerizim and Ebal (sincerity, or “spirit” and accuracy, or “truth”), He was also saying, as you do “you need both”! John Wimber was asked “Which is more important, the Word or the Spirit?” to which he replied “Which wing of the aircraft would you rather do without, at 30,000ft above the ground?”

  3. Hi Veroni, Thanks. I like it, because this is what I am teaching and preaching about. The Word and the Spirit must go hand in hand. You cannot emphasize the one above the other. Like the comment above says, you need both wings. God bless. Monty Eloff

  4. Baie goed. Dankie dat hy deele hiervan op sit…ek dink ek moet die boek lees voor hy ‘n bestseller word 🙂 Liefde


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