Discipline of Worship: The Key of Balance
We’ve been discussing the road to spiritual maturity through the practice of the spiritual disciplines. Paul told Timothy, “…discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness…” God uses three primary catalysts for changing us and conforming us: people (friends, and sometimes our enemies), circumstances, and our practice of the spiritual disciplines.
Today is part two of our series on the discipline of worship. Jesus said, “Worship the Lord… and serve Him only,” in Matthew 4:10. Last time, we said worship is a discipline because we’re tempted to approach it in the wrong way, and our worship can all be in vain. We said we can open the door to worship that pleases God by using two keys: the key of focus and the key of balance.
Last time we talked about the key of F – for focus, which says our focus has to be on God, on His holiness, on His glory, on His omnipotence. We have to be focused on Him in our praying, our singing, our giving. We have to be focused on God, or our worship is really not acceptable worship. We can’t be distracted. So the first key is focus. That sincere focus on God will cause a response out of the heart, the response of praise. The second key that opens the door to worship that’s acceptable to God is the key of B, for balance.
Jesus said, in John 4:23-24, “…true worshipers will worship…in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Balanced worship is in both spirit and truth. As believers and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the Spirit of truth, God’s Holy Spirit, living in us!
True worship is motivated by his Spirit. It’s not a place. It’s not a ritual or a tradition. It’s not external, but it’s from within. That’s worshiping in spirit.
But here’s where balance comes in. Spirit and truth. If we worship in spirit only, and we’re soft on truth, we risk everything from sleepy tolerance to out-of-control emotionality. To worship in truth means to worship Him as He is revealed in Scripture, to worship Him for who the Bible says He is, not our personal views of God. He is a God of mercy, but He’s also a God of justice. He’s a God of love, but He’s also a God of wrath. Reflect on the total truth. Reflect on all He is as revealed in His Word.
He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He created all things. He’s the Great Shepherd. He is the Rock. He’ll never leave me or forsake me. He died and rose again, and I’m saved by grace through faith. That’s the truth.
All spirit and no truth? I’ve been to some churches like that. Some churches are all emotion and shouting, and doctrine is way out in left field. How about all truth and no spirit? The result is stoic, programmed – you feel like you’re watching paint dry. You could set your watch by the start of the offering or the end of the sermon.
Christ says balanced worship is worship in spirit and truth. When we worship in spirit and truth, and we grow up. That’s the goal: godliness and growing in Christ.
These two keys (the key of focus and the key of balance) are critical to our worship experience, and we have to practice them. Develop the habit of disciplined public worship. Look at Hebrews 10:25. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
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