Worship is defined in the Oxford American Dictionary as "The feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. The acts or rites that make up a formal expression of reverence for a deity; a religious ceremony or ceremonies.” 

The Bible talks of three types of worship. There is vain worship in Matthew 15:9 where Jesus said, "in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Then there is ignorant worship in Acts 17:23-31 where Paul noticed the altar to the unknown god and declared to them on Mars’ hill the God that they worship ignorantly. Paul declared in verse 30, "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.” Then there is true worship, which is described by Christ in John 4:24 where He states, "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” As we can see from the above verses, God does not accept vain worship nor worship in ignorance. Those who worship God must do so in truth and spirit. 

Too often we see where worship is in spirit but not truth. On the other hand, our worship can be in truth but absent in spirit. Neither one is acceptable to God. In order for our worship to be acceptable, it must be in both spirit and truth. 

In spirit, is when our worship is sincere and respectful, and we are filled with awe of the Creator in His presence. But this is not enough for our worship of God since this could describe worship that is done in ignorance (it could describe the worship of God by the Samaritans in John 4:21-24). 

Our worship must also be in truth, which means that God has revealed in His word how He wants us to worship Him. In Matthew 7:21 Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” We must worship God according to His will. When we worship God in a way that we would like to worship Him, when all is said and done, we put our self in the place of God and in reality worship our self. 

The question I put to you is this: how are you worshiping God? Are you like the Samaritans in John 4, maybe worshiping in spirit but not truth, worshiping what you know not? Are you worshiping like the Jews in John 4; knowing what you worship but not in spirit? Are you worshiping like the Athenians in Acts 17, worship that is in ignorance and not acceptable to God? Or, are you worshiping God in spirit and truth?

Charles Royal, Decatur AL

"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father." Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.