Most everyone is familiar with the account of Yeshua speaking with the Samaritan woman at the well found in the Gospel of John.
It’s an interesting encounter as Samaritans and Jews were considered by both sides to be sworn enemies.
There’s a lot to unpack in this exchange including the topic of divorce, sex out of wedlock, and disagreement as to the correct location of the temple.
But one message in particular that I personally find the most interesting is the idea of worshipping in spirit and truth:
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
What does it mean to worship in spirit and truth?
I think many Christians can recall a time in their life when they were really feeling “in the spirit” during worship.
The worship was coming from the heart and could be felt in the soul.
This I believe is what Yeshua meant when he said to worship in spirit.
Unlike having a checklist of rules that you follow out of habit or to be seen by others, worshipping in the spirit is a love for Elohim that involves the heart.
Yeshua contrasted such heartfelt worship from those who merely worshipped outwardly:
This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
So Elohim is seeking those who worship from the heart but notice that’s not all Yeshua said…
We are also expected to worship in truth… That is to say, a true form of worship as defined by Elohim in His commandments:
1 John 2:4
Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
So we can’t pick and choose which of Elohim’s instructions we like and then mix in our own versions to fill in the rest.
A very sobering example of Elohim’s rejection of worship that was outside of His commandments is found in the story of Aaron’s sons attempting to offer strange fire:
Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.
To say that Elohim rejected Nadab and Abihu’s version of worship would be an understatement.
Unfortunately, the modern-day gentile church, by following the man-made traditions inherited from generations before, is a modern-day example of offering strange fire before Elohim.
For example, worshipping Elohim with all your heart while gathered on the pagan fertility holiday that is called Easter, an ancient pagan festival dedicated to the false goddess Ishtar (or Ashtoreth in the bible), is not true worship.
And neither is saying grace before a meal from your heart but asking Elohim to bless your pork sandwich.
This mixing of spirit with strange fire is not what Yeshua said the Father is looking for.
Yeshua showed us through living example how to apply the truth of Elohim’s word with all of our hearts. And as it is written:
1 John 2:6
whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Elohim defines what is acceptable worship for Him, not what feels right to us or what church leaders might have taught us.
So let’s take the time to examine ourselves and test the things we were taught by men against the truth in Elohim’s word.
And if any strange fire is found in our worship, let us rid that from our lives and submit completely to the will of Elohim.