The New Way of Worship: What Did Jesus Mean? How Radical Could It Be?

April 8, 2013 — 5 Comments

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. John 4:23

Jesus said something truly revolutionary to the Samaritan woman at the well. He talked of a time coming when a new way to worship God would come into reality. What was revolutionary about this is that Jesus was not saying that worship, as it was currently done, would be refined or reshaped, but that worship of God would become something completely new. No longer the old way people knew of, but a radically different way that did not look or feel the same in any form.

Jesus seemed to be talking about the end of the entire old testament concept of worship. The end of going to a temple to sing songs of adoration to God. The end of the raising of hands to try and reach God. The end of the stamping of the feet while the musicians strum their instruments. He was talking about the end of this entire way of worship to be replaced with an entirely new way—the way God truly desires. A way that is of Spirit and truth.

So what is this new way of worship? I believe it is worshiping God through loving others. For when we love those around us, it is because we worship/are devoted to God who is Love. Love is the DNA of our God, and it is a worship-filled life we live when we live a life of love. When we love, we testify to the God we identify with and follow. When we love, we declare without words:

‘God is love—I love because this God first loved me, and I love because I worship this God of Love.’

While I understand this can sound quite radical, isn’t that exactly what we would expect based on Jesus’ words? Anything that is completely new is considered radical, and that is what makes the message of Jesus so incredible to those who desire the new way Jesus promised, yet so dangerous to those who want to hold onto the old order of things.

If our idea of worship looks similar (or even identical) to the old covenant version of worship, is it not time we challenge our own understanding of worship, and ask ourselves what this new way of worship Jesus spoke of could be? What if the new way of worship truly is done through loving others? Would this set you free, or make you feel trapped? Would this match more with the God you have come to know through Jesus, or does the old form of worship make more sense?

What if God is not interested in people bowing down to him as a form of testifying to their devotion to him, but rather he is interested in people loving those around them to testify of their devotion to him? What if loving others is the new way of worshiping God, the way he truly desires? Does that thought inspire you or offend you?

  • Ilene Wood

    Yes, amen. Most times I am either standing or sitting during the praise & worship service, because, I can sense His Presence, in spirit, in such a special way, that I do not need words or have a need to sing; it is just enjoying Him and His love. I know that others don’t understand it, but I do, and wont do otherwise. [I seem not to fit in anywhere anyways, so why start now. I fit in w/ God.] :) Even if I try to sing, it just does not flow or seem right, so I stay where I am at….w/ Him.

  • Kay Stocking

    My spirit shouts “Hallelujah!” to this, while my mind loses its hold on the old way for security! I’ll continue singing songs of adoration and praise to my wonderful Father – out of the overflow of His love for me, unhindered by thoughts that “this” is how we worship. Filling up on His infinitely-faceted love for me, my life is living worship of Him, because His love overflows to those around me, as well.

    Thanks for another giant leap forward in the glorious freedom of the children of God, Mick!

  • Amy

    This is so encouraging, so simple. It resonates profoundly. Thank you.

  • Dathan Ellis

    I used to lead worship and thought this was the most romantic and passionate way anyone could praise and worship God, until my eyes were opened. God does not care about songs we sing, lifted hands, or bowing low on our knees. Actually, all this is the opposite of what he wants. None of it means anything. You’re right Mick. The only way to truly worship God is to simply love his people. All this other stuff is just the Old Testament way of doing things and it’s what we’re all taught to do. This is also what the Pharisees did and they had no clue what God really wanted or who he was. Nothing’s changed.

  • nameofthewind

    I my view, there is really nothing wrong about worshiping God with songs, BUT as Apostle Paul, says we need to do everything for the Glory of God, In work, In School, In Church, Everywhere.. but if you sing only because you like that song, or you like the sound, and not because you Love God, he will not hear it, or if you sing because you say you Love God, and when you go out from that place and you don’t do anything that will share the Love of God to the Lost then you don’t really Love God at all, you’re not really walking in the path of righteousness and it is not Justice that you take the Love of God for yourself only.

    Amos 5:21-24

    I am just a one year old Christian but, I believe in My Heart that what I wrote is right, it may not be all correct, I may not have used the proper words but I think you will know what I am trying to say