"God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth." John 4:24
Jesus was speaking with the Samaritan woman at the well when He said this. He was teaching her about what true worship is. Worship is defined as adoration and reverence for God. Is that relegated to Sunday Mornings only? I think not. True Worship to God is a daily ongoing act from one's heart, in all sincerity to God. Corporate worship takes place on a Sunday as we gather with those in the body of Christ, but worship is ongoing beyond that.
Our lives can worship the Lord God daily when we are living in obedience to the Word of God. In this we are showing that we respect God with reverential fear. We do what He asks us to do when it comes to lifestyle, conduct, conversation, engagement in activities and our treatment of others.
A person can sit in church, participate in holy things for years and never be a true worshipper of Christ. Some feel that they can go to church on Sundays, put money in the offering plate, enjoy the music and the emotional preaching and this is worship. Not according to the scripture, I gave.
A true worshipper lives Monday through Sunday striving to obey God's laws and commands. You cannot live any way you please and say that you worship God. You cannot live in sin, participate in sinful acts, that cater to the flesh, and honor God.
A true worshipper of God has committed his or her life to Christ and has a personal relationship with the Lord God. It's a daily relationship consisting of prayer and the reading of His Word. It's a relationship that causes them to rely and depend upon God for daily living and provisions because the individual has a desire to please God in their life.
There are things to enjoy while attending a church service, like the music, the people, the social fulfillment it brings, the fellowship dinners and the positive atmosphere, but that alone does not define true worship. Without conversion by salvation and a personal walk with God, you're just going to church as an attendee.
As we approach a new year, let's do some soul searching; let's be clear on where we stand with God. Let's examine our lifestyle and see if it matches up to God's laws and commands. It will not take us long to answer the question of 'Are we enjoying church or Christ'?
"But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters." 1Peter4:15
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. It's interesting that the Word of God associates a busybody with a murderer and a thief. This speaks to how dangerous a behavior it is.
How does one become a busybody? Idleness leads to being a busybody. We have heard the adage that idleness is the devil's playground and how true it is. Idleness opens the door to being a gossip and a talebearer. A busybody is also a gossip and a talebearer. This behavior causes strife among God's people.
A busybody will suffer the consequences for not minding their own business. A busybody meddles in other people's affairs. They pry into personal information of others. They comment and judge matters that don't concern them. They gossip their thoughts and feelings to others creating their own scenarios. They gather other people's opinions and gossip and pass it along to others including who said what.
What is the busybody's problem? What makes them engage in such behavior? They are in other people's business to compensate for not handling their own. There are things in their life that need tending to but, they won't deal with what needs their attention. They refuse to face issues of discontentment, disappointments, and problems in their personal lives. Some are resentful because of what God hasn't given them and it comes out in the form of making negative comments about the success, good fortune, or blessing of others.
Often, it is believed that only females engage in such behavior but, this problem is not exclusive to women. Some men are also busybodies.
The body of Christ suffers behind such behavior. Friendships are broken, divisiveness finds its way into the fellowship and the 'he said, she said' can never be sort out thereby causing all kinds of discord among brethren. Six things does the Lord hate and seven are an abomination unto him; we find included in that verse, one who sows discord among his brethren. God really abhors and hates that! (Proverbs 6:16-19)
Avoid engaging in such conversations with a busybody. Don't feed their curiosity. Refrain from giving them your opinions. Speak well of others when they speak critically of them. Leave them in such a situation where they think twice about coming to you with that stuff.
What they say about others they will say about you and spread it given time and opportunity. They are really friends to no one. Also, somewhere in the midst of all the gossip are lies meshed in.
Busybodies rarely stop what they do, but you can certainly stop them from coming to you!
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:8
God promises to reciprocate His gracious presence, which includes the warmth of His love, protection when we need it, strength, His divine concern, provisions, a listening ear with His undivided attention.
Since He forces Himself on no one, He will only draw near when we draw near. We must have a desire for such a relationship. It starts with the individual.
Drawing near isn't defined by a 10-minute drive by. It requires sitting a while in His presence. Intentionally setting time aside, the same time each day is preferable. This is a planned meeting to be engaged in fellowship and communication through prayer and the reading of the Word of God. This time allows us to hear His voice and what He wants to say to us, it allows us to unload our cares as we express what is on our hearts. This alone time with Him allows us to walk away differently than how we initially came into His presence. This time of engagement will bring the answers we're desiring.
When we don't give a person our time and attention, we don't have a relationship, we're merely an acquaintance.
The closer we get, the closer He gets. The closer we get, the more we'll hear. The closer we get the more He'll speak. The closer we get, the closer He becomes. This is intimacy, this is what having a true relationship with the Lord God looks like.
May you and I seek to draw nearer and nearer To God as the New Year approaches.