“If you keep My commands, you will stay in My love – just as I have kept My Father’s commands and stay in His love. I have said this to you so that My joy may be in you, and your joy be complete.” (Yochanan 15:10-11)
In my last post we looked at the third part by how we are to approach God through the narrow gate. In this post, we will explore worshipping in the Spirit and Truth plus abiding in Yeshua.
Approaching God ~ D
“God is spirit; and worshippers must worship him spiritually and truly.” (John 4:24)
Worship in Spirit and in Truth
Worship is giving to God what He deserves and what He wants from us. We do not determine the requirements for approaching God; He does. We cannot demand action or blessing from God as though He is our servant and we are the master. Not just anyone is allowed into the presence of God. He sets the standards, He determines the requirements, and He makes the rules for what is acceptable worship.
To worship God “spiritually” requires that our spirit must be made alive by His Ruach. We must be born again, revived spiritually, and enabled by Him to come into His presence in the first place. It is impossible to worship a God who is spirit if a person is not first spiritually alive. “Here is how we know that we remain united with him and he with us: he has given to us from his own Spirit.” (1 John 4:13) To worship God spiritually also means that our spirits are responding to the Ruach HaKodesh. We should be able to sense that He is praying with us, speaking to us, prompting us, inhabiting our praise, convicting us, and glorifying God in and through us.
We must also worship Him in truth. Ananias and Sapphira tried to worship God with deceptive motives, and they paid for their mistake with their lives (see Acts 5:1ff). We have nothing to give God that He has not already first created or given to us. He does not need our car, our money, our voice, or anything else we own. He wants our heart, our soul, and our love. The music we sing, the offerings we bring, the acts of ministry we perform come from our heart; and when our hearts are in right fellowship with Him, our actions will show it.
When we come into His presence for worship, He already knows the condition of our heart toward Him. We cannot lie to Him; we can only deceive ourselves or those who see nothing other than our outward actions. To worship God “truly” is to begin to see ourselves as God sees us, to let His Spirit reveal to us who we are in the sight of God and agree with Him. To come honestly to God is to admit our insufficiency and utter dependence on Him and realize we can give nothing worthy of Him except our love and devotion. When we truly empty ourselves of our pride, arrogance, and self-sufficiency, confessing our sins with acts of repentance, we are then able to worship God “spiritually and truly.”
God desires real worship. Real worship is not always polished and pretty. Sometimes it includes pain, brokenness and raw emotion. David wrote in Psalm 51 that God desires “truth in the inner person.” (Psalm 51:6) How honest are you in your worship? So often our worship is tainted with a desire to be noticed by others, or to perform for those around us, or clouded by guilt over the sin we have carried with us into worship, and is not truly the pure, holy, blameless worship from the heart that God desires.
When was the last time you asked God what He wanted from you in worship? Do you know if what you have been offering Him in worship is even acceptable to Him? Is what you have been giving to God in worship worthy of Him? Take time to prepare yourself for worship. Do not come tired or distracted. Do not bring sin into your worship time. Do not pretend everything is OK in your heart when you know it is not. Let the Spirit of God direct how you honor your Lord. Do you need to confess your sin before you begin worship? Do that. Do you need to kneel in the presence of a Holy God? Do that. Do you need to ask forgiveness with someone you have offended before you worship? Do that. Let nothing hinder your worship, or it will not be worship; it will simply be religious activity that is not worth your time or God’s.
“Stay united with Me, as I will with you – for just as the branch can’t put forth fruit by itself apart from the vine, so you can’t bear fruit apart from Me.” (John 15:4)
“Just as My Father has loved Me, I too have loved you; so stay in My love.” (John 15:9)
Abide in Me
These commands identify the place where our lives and souls must make their home as a follower of Yeshua. The Greek word ~ menô ~ translated in these two passages as “stay” means abide, remain, or stand. To “stay” in Yeshua’s love is to live in the total awareness and appreciation not only of what God has done, is doing, and will do for you, but to order your agenda and life according to His heart and His will. More than knowing about God’s love or simply appreciating God’s love, we must let Yeshua’s love guide us, control us, and compel us (see 2 Corinthians 5:14) to act and plan according to His desire. When we “stay” in the love of Yeshua, we are continually conscious of His presence, protection, guidance, blessing, discernment, and passion for those around us. In fact, it is impossible to appreciate fully the scope and depth of the love of Yeshua in solitude; it is something that is best expressed with others, with His other family members. Sha’ul expresses this desire, “I pray that you will be rooted and founded in love, so that you, with all God’s people, will be given strength to grasp the breadth, length, height and depth of the Messiah’s love.” (Ephesians 3:17-18)
When people say they are “in danger,” “in denial,” “in school,” “in a midlife crisis,” or “in shock,” they are not talking about a location; they are talking about a state of mind or describing their circumstances. When we are “in Yeshua,” we are describing our state of mind, our circumstances, and the location of our soul all at once. When we are in Yeshua, it does not matter if we are in Zambia, in school, or in trouble, our spiritual state supersedes everything. This is how martyrs could face blazing fires, torturous imprisonment, or imminent drowning with peace because they knew they were “in Yeshua” already.
Do you know what most often replaces Yeshua as your top priority? What can easily distract you from kingdom affairs? Are you comfortable and secure in Yeshua’s love? What shakes your confidence in the love of Yeshua? Are you intentionally developing your love relationship with God? Are you giving Him the undistracted time necessary to do that? These are the things that can prevent you from staying in Yeshua. Unless you are conscious of the things that would compromise your affections toward Yeshua, you will not be prepared to subdue them and reject them when they tempt you away from God. These things are not necessarily evil in and of themselves, but they can be used by the evil one to compromise your usefulness in the hands of God.
In my next post, we will wrap-up our means for approaching God in learning to obey the commands of Yeshua.