In chapter four of the book of John we see a conversation between Jesus and a woman at a well. He said this to her, “For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Have you ever been in a time of worship when you did not feel particularly worshipful? I think we all have had that experience — perhaps more than once. The problem may have been with the service itself. But I suspect elements of the problem are often found within ourselves.
Jesus told His disciple Thomas, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (Jn 14:6 ESV) So following Jesus teachings and worshiping in His name satisfies the worship requirement for truth. But what about the requirement for being ‘in the spirit’? How is that satisfied? And (possibly the biggest piece of the problem being addressed here) are you ready to go when it’s time to worship?
Your invisible self (sometimes called mind, ego or personality) can be viewed as being in two parts. One part is your animal mind or flesh nature. That’s the part that is involved in the animal things like eating, breathing, sleeping etc. The other part is your spirit. That part is capable of prayer and worship. When that part is in control, you are ready to worship. Can you recognize the parts? And do you know which part is in control at any given moment? Time spent in prayer and worship should make clear the difference between your spirit nature and your flesh nature. But can you move easily into your spirit nature? For me the answer is — sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not. It depends on which part is pulling the hardest at the moment. I suspect it works like that for you too.
Jesus was aware that physical distractions can make it difficult
to be ‘in the spirit’ and offered this remedy: “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
It helps to eliminate as many distractions as you can. That may also include trips to the bathroom, refrigerator and thermostat. Once your animal self is satisfied (at least temporarily) you can try to engage as many of your senses as is reasonable to initiate being ‘in the spirit’.
How do you do that? It’s not too difficult. For example, you have probably associated a certain smell with a certain location, event or even a person. That smell can trigger a response in your brain that can quickly and easily shift your mental state to that experience.
A smell associated with worship can engage your spirit. In Exodus 30, we see God instructing Moses in recipes for anointing oil and incense for the altar specifically for the purpose of creating aromas identified with worship. The temple showbread could also have had an aroma and taste associated with the temple as well. Music, rhythmic motion and recitation of Bible verses or even nonsense syllables can have a similar effect for some.
While it may be difficult to make adaptations when worshiping with others, it is important to know that there are things that can raise your spirit quickly and easily and greatly enhance and augment your meditation and worship experiences.
A word of caution — such things are like tools given by God. They are very powerful and meant to be. Because of that, the Evil One may try to stop you from using them or he may try to use them for his own purposes.
(You are able to distinguish between your animal (flesh) nature and your spirit nature aren’t you?)
Copyright © 2019 Sam Dronebarger | All rights reserved