If you’ve been in touch at all with modern Western Christianity you probably think of E chords and electric guitars, dim lights, lyrics projected on screens, and thousands of hands lifted high. (And let me just say, if you’ve never sang to God with your whole being so much so that you wanted to raise your hands to the sky… you should.) If you grew up in a more traditional “Bible-belt” church in the south of the United States you might think of organs and hymnals. If you grew up in “high church” (i.e. Catholic, Anglican, Episcopalian, etc.)… Well, I really don’t know what you might think of. I myself have never attended such a service. Probably you’d expect more organs and hymnals though.
As is usually our case, this kind of thought confirms that “man looks on the outward appearance” (1 Sam. 16:7). When someone mentions worship we automatically think of outward practices and preferences. The trouble is that this isn’t what worship is about at all…
We need an intrinsic view of what worship really is. To truly worship God is not to play the right instrument, sing the right song, create the right setting, or have the right style. To truly worship God is literally to kiss God, most intimately and inwardly.
John 4:24 says:
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.”
The greek word for worship in this verse is proskuneo. According to Vine’s expository dictionary, pros literally means “towards” and kuneo literally means “to kiss.” Thus, to worship God is to come forward to Him and kiss Him.
The capital S “Spirit” here is God, the Holy Spirit. The lower case s “spirit” here, is the human spirit of man (Zech. 12:1, 1 Thes. 5:23). There are many several other verses which show both God’s Spirit and man’s spirit in the same verse. Romans 8:16 and John 3:6 are two, just as examples (more on that in another post). However, the point here is that we have something at the core of our being that is similar to God and created to contact Him.
Just like our body contacts the physical realm and our mind contacts the psychological realm, the spirit of man contacts the spiritual realm. Even though it is abstract and unseen, the spiritual realm is still very real.
The spirit of man is the “organ” you could say, with which we contact and substantiate the Spirit of God.
Just consider what a kiss is for a second… I don’t know about you but I’m not going to kiss just anyone. I love my guy friends, but it’s going to be a rare occasion that I kiss a male (even though I know Romans 16:16 is a real verse). I’d be much more likely to kiss a female, but even at that I’m probably only going to kiss four ladies on the face of the whole earth… My wife, my mother, and my two grandmothers. A kiss is an intimate contact that is shared with only a select few.
Needless to say, realizing what true worship is gives amazing insight to what our relationship with God is. He is our Father, Lord, and Master; we should serve, obey, and reverentially fear Him. Surely this is true. But that’s not all…
God is Husband. His chosen people are His bride, and the Bible is a Divine Romance.
Rather than figuring out and arguing over how to worship outwardly, our time and energy is much better spent focusing on the intrinsic essence of real worship. What is the intrinsic essence of worship? To come forward to and kiss, intimately contact God.