“Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:21-24
One does not have to look far these days to find a church that “has it together.” The worship team flows smoothly, flawless and professional in all they do. The choir can likewise be counted upon to provide beautiful, soaring harmonies guaranteed to lift the spirit. The AV department is professional and solid, providing clean sound and video, PowerPoint slides and lighting effects on cue. The pastor is smooth and polished, an accomplished presenter delivering a message sure to encourage and inspire. It all “clicks” flowing together in a service that lifts everyone, sending them forth ready to face the week ahead. God is glorified and pleased … or is He?
What is it that really pleases God? Is it a slick, professional service, or a sold out heart? Is it His will we be encouraged, lifted up, and recharged to withstand the week ahead, or would He rather we leave equipped, challenged, and released like an arrow to it’s mark to do damage to the enemy? Does He desire us entertained, or transformed? Does He desire we encourage and inspire, or preach the Kingdom?
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:17
By now, you likely guessed where I am going. Some may not like this, but God is not seeking a professional performance, but heartfelt worship. He would rather have a barely competent musician truly worshiping Him out of heart consumed with love and desire for Him than a whole team of top flight professionals focused on a great performance. He would rather see an unpolished speaker willing to follow the Spirit and speak whatever He puts in his mouth than a great orator delivering a preplanned speech. Or better yet, a series of “regular” people speaking what he gave each of them to share, coming as they are, broken, vulnerable, trembling, undone … real.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7
Throughout the Bible we see God choosing not the skilled, nor the mighty, but the small, the weak, the vulnerable, but above all the humble and obedient. Jacob, the sneak, instead of Esau the man’s man. Gideon, hiding in the wine press, Moses, the stutterer, David, small, no account, adulterer, murderer, liar, man after God’s heart. Paul, murderer, Peter, Andrew and John, rough fishermen. Matthew, tax collector, cheat, swindler.
Even Jesus when He came to earth did not come as a king, but as a common man, worse yet, as the illegitimate child of a tradesman in a backwater town.
And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” John 1:46
They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.” John 7:52
There was nothing physically that drew others to Him, we are told that He was, at best, well … ordinary.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-8
What then drew others to Him and set the world on its ear? The anointing and authority He carried as He followed the Spirit and allowed the Holy Spirit to guide Him in all He said and did. But wait you say, “Jesus said He did only what He saw the Father do in heaven.” You are right, and I questioned that as well. When I did I heard, “Who do you think showed me what the Father was doing?” Then I saw this verse in my spirit:
That, my friend, is just what He desires for each of us. That we be consumed with desire for the Lover of Our Souls. That we follow His Holy Spirit in all that we say and do, that we worship Him, not professionally, but in Spirit and Truth. Let me be clear. I am not saying we should not give our best, rather that our best needs to be in its proper place. Let us follow the Spirit in all things, walking in truth as He reveals, so that like Jesus we may turn the world on its ear.
And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” John 1:32-34
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. John 16:13