“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)
Here, Jesus clearly lays out what He requires in our private and corporate worship of Him, worshipping in spirit and truth. Jesus isn’t primarily concerned about our image, clothes, buildings, or any of the other things we preoccupy ourselves with upon gathering in His name. Jesus is concerned that we worship him in spirit and truth, with the right motivation and the right information.
To worship God in spirit is to worship from the heart, not merely going through the motions while inwardly being a dry desert. It requires us to lay all our idols, cares, and burdens at the foot of the cross and treasure God alone with all that is within us. It is more than simply outward motions and acts of worship, but rather it’s worshipping God with our hearts. But Jesus not only desires heartfelt worship, he desires truthful worship.
Worshipping God in truth demands an understanding of His written word. God desires us to be rooted in truth when we come into His presence, not being tossed around like a ship at sea, but rather, anchored in sound theology. Jesus is stating that he not only wants our hearts to adore him, but he also wants us to have a full and right understanding of him.
Jesus requires both spirit and truth in our worship. Worshipping only in spirit opens us up to false teachings and, ultimately, counterfeit worship, while worshipping only in truth turns us into a Pharisee. Let us pray that God would turn our hearts and affections towards Him, and that a right understanding of his word would drive us to our knees in worship. This alone is what Jesus desires and deserves.