God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
Downsizing God by defining Him through our means of worship is breaking the Second Commandment. Now, God has given us certain means, channels by which we connect to Him. But it’s important that we see those channels as a means to an end, not an end unto itself. We need to be very careful that we don’t start worshiping the means rather than the God to whom those means are directed.
Let me be specific. Music is a wonderful way to worship God. We have a fantastic music program in our church. But while music is a means by which we connect to the Spirit of God, it’s essential that we not reduce God to a particular style of music and say God can only work through this kind of music. By the way, people who like traditional Christian music and people who like contemporary music both can be guilty of this. People who love contemporary music can say, “The only way God can speak to me is through contemporary music. I just can’t worship to that other kind of music.” And people who like traditional music are guilty of saying, “Oh, that new stuff, I just can’t stand it. God’s not in it. That’s the devil’s music, you know.” Let me tell you something. There is nothing more spiritual about “How Great Though Art” than there is about “How Great Is Our God.” Both are wonderful songs that exalt the glory of God. If you want make a spiritual issue out of music, it’s only about your personal taste. That’s all. Don’t reduce God to a particular form of music and say God can only be worshipped through this kind of music.
We also can make the mistake of worshipping the church itself. Now, the church is an important way we connect to God. It is impossible to be a growing Christian without being actively involved in a local church. You absolutely cannot do it. But you can be actively involved in a local church and not be a growing Christian. And there some Christians, when you talk to them about their relationship with God, they immediately start talking about their church involvement. Listen, church involvement is not the end—it’s a means to an end. It is the means by which we connect to God.
Finally, sometimes if are not careful we can even make an idol out of the Bible. Of course, there is no better way to know God than through His Word. The Bible is God’s perfect revelation to us. But the goal of reading the Bible is not to know about the Bible; it’s to know the God of the Bible. The Bible is the means by which we learn about God and what He desires for our life. There are people who love to learn about the Bible and fight about the Bible and argue about doctrine and act just like unbelievers. That is not worship. The goal of all Bible study is to get us in touch with the Creator. We need to be careful that we don’t reduce God, downsize God, through our means of worship rather than the God that we’re worshiping.
In John 4:24 Jesus said, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Because God is spirit, He cannot be worshiped through images or tangible means. He has to be worshiped in spirit and in truth. He shouldn’t be worshiped or defined by our own prejudices and traditions. We need to make sure, Jesus is saying, that we’re worshiping the true God and not some shadow of God that is found in music or in the church or even in the Bible itself. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Danger of Downsizing” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.