Worshiping in the Spirit

Please note, that while this is a divisive doctrine, that we can all agree that tongues, prophesy, or not, worshipping in spirit is important. I encourage debate, and if you disagree, I'd love to know why, but let's keep it a friendly and healthy debate. We're all brothers and sisters in Christ.

John 4:23
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

Romans 8:26
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

I remember the first time I heard someone speak in tongues. It was soft but to me, ominous. I was sitting in a church I'd been dragged to by a friend, and at the time I was not a believer. Quite the opposite. I laughed in the face of Christianity, and hearing the ridiculous language behind me only fueled the fire of rebellion I held within. It was more ammunition, but I couldn't deny that there was something equally great and terrifying about what was going on.

Even as a Christian I cringed and skipped over verses about tongues or prophecy. I thought "it's wonderful for those that do those things, but I never want to." Translation: I didn't want to be different, or ridiculed. But as I delved into teachings on baptism by the Holy Spirit, I wondered. Everyone at Pentecost had spoken in tongues, and Paul had boasted once the he spoke in tongues more than many. (1 Corinthians 14:18) Was it really so desirable? Was it really a gift? Deep in my heart I figured that if this was a "gift" that I had no right to refuse something that God offered, and so I prayed for God to give me whatever He desired I have.

A few days passed, and nothing of note occured. But I knew God was faithful, and that whatever He gave me was fine. Later during a church conference, it finally happened. Suddenly it was as if my mouth was taken over and I was speaking something I knew I'd never heard. It came so easily that I wasn't thinking about what I was saying, and whatever I was saying filled me with a sense of joy beyond anything I'd ever experienced! It's hard to fake this kind of thing, believe me. You'd have to be a master improver like Jim Carrey, and you'd have to be thinking the whole time about where you were going with it. No, this was altogether different. It didn't require thought or pre-meditation. This was natural, and it wasn't coming from me.

You see, God is a triune being and so are we. We ourselves have three parts; body, soul, spirit. Our body is temporal and made for this earth. It's made of bone, blood, and flesh and will at some point turn to dust. Our soul comprises of our mind, will, and emotions and our spirit or "nooma" is that which is, in Ephesians 2:6, said to already be seated in heavenly places with our God.

Our bodies can only be used in worship physically. We can lift our hands, jump up and down, or bow down, but without our Soul and Spirit doing the same, it's just movement. Our soul can worship, but our soul is often selfish. It's the kind of worship where we lift our hands and submit, but only when our favorite worship song is on. It's the kind of worship where we're more concerned with how we sing, how we look, or how good the worship band or choir in front of us is. Soulish worship doesn't glorify God.

Worshipping in the Spirit is altogether different because the tools for worship aren't coming from ourselves, our body, our will, or our emotions. They are coming from God. It's like a computer. A computer has a body (monitor and CPU) and it has a mainframe with a hard drive, but that computer cannot turn on without being plugged into a power source. When we worship in Spirit, that's what we're doing. We're plugging ourselves into the power of God.

The key to spirit worship is submission. I had to submit my thoughts about tongues and prophesy. I thought they were wierd, odd, confusing, and scary and I was most afraid of being made a fool, if I were to be completely honest. But I had to set down those things, those prior judgements before God could give me anything. How can God give us anything when our hands are already full? It's when we can put down those things that keep us away from him and simply ask, that we'll receive. God is a faithful Father who loves to give gifts to his daughters and sons, the only thing He requires for us is to ask. And believe me, it's worth it.

**If you need a good study on the spiritual gifts or the Baptism of the holy spirit, check out Jack Hayford's teaching here.


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