We must worship 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—John 4:23 (ESV).
Many profess to worship God who never in reality do so. They attend to a variety of forms, they perform many ceremonies, but they do not worship God. They have no correct views of his spirituality, covenant character, or extensive requirements. They fancy that he is pleased with show, parades, and outward forms; whereas “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” [John 4:24 ESV].The true worshipper is quickened by the Holy Spirit, and taught to see the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ. He is sincere in his service, simple in his language, and hearty in his petitions and adorations. He only approaches God through Christ, he pleads the atonement for his acceptance, he throws his heart open before God, and means just what he says. The greatness of God awes him; the goodness of God draws him; the mercy of God humbles him; the grace of God emboldens him; and he worships in faith, fear, and love. He believes God’s word, fears God’s displeasure, and loves God’s character. There is no pretense about him, for he hates hypocrisy, and worships in sincerity and truth.
In spirit and truth alone
We must present our prayer.
The formal and the false are known
Through the disguise they wear.
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About the author and the source
Rev. James Smith was a Baptist preacher and the predecessor of Charles Spurgeon at New Park Street Chapel in London (1841–1850). He wrote a book of morning devotions for the people he pastored. It was so well received he added an evening devotion, and then a book of daily contemplations on short Scriptures, Daily Bible Readings for the Lord’s Household.
James Smith. Daily Bible Readings for the Lord’s Household. London: Thomas Nelson, 1850.