It is clear from what has already been said what the meaning of “worship the Father in spirit and truth” is. It is to set aside the entanglements of the ancient ceremonies and just keep what is spiritual in the worship of God. The “truth” of the “worship” is in the “spirit,” and the ceremonies are a mere appendage.1 -John Calvin
As humans, worship is an inherent part of our daily life. Whether we are worshiping correctly or incorrectly, we are all giving praises to something. As a Christian, God should be the one and only recipient of our adoration.
Worshiping God has always been part of Christian faith, all the way back to the Old Testament.
And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:1–6)
The first two commandments that God gave to his people after delivering them from the hands of Egypt were directly related to how they worship God. He made clear that nothing should ever come before him. God not only asks, but demands that we worship him above whatever petty thing this world can conjure. Adding on to his exclusive worship, God demands that we do not attempt to make an image of him. God, in all his glory, created everything, making him greater than anything we can make. So, by making a statue or carving of our imagination of him, we are only making up what we think he looks like, and worshiping the wrong God. Ultimately God reveals that the reason why we worship him is that he has done the impossible time and time again, and the only appropriate manner in which to respond is with our unconditional worship.
How We Worship
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” (John 4:23)
Over the years, worship has come to be understood only as singing worship songs on a Sunday morning at a church service. Worship, however, cannot be defined as only singing on a Sunday morning in a church building. To worship in Spirit and in truth, as Jesus taught, encompasses far more than that. To worship in this way is far more than a single act, but more of a lifestyle. Wherever you are, or whatever you are doing, you are to do it not for your sake but to glorify God. In doing this, you recognize the sacrifice he has made for you, and the only appropriate way to show thanks is to dedicate all that you do to his greater glory. So, what are doing today? Are you resting, working, playing? Where are you? Are you at home, at work, at the park? Whatever you are doing and wherever you are, seek to worship God with all of your being.
1John Calvin, John in The Crossway Classic Commentaries, ed. Alister McGrath and J.I. Packer (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), 103-4.