Worshipping in Spirit and Truth (Reflection on Spirituality and Theology)


I want to know God. I want to enjoy God. I want to love God. I want to follow and serve God. i want to glorify God. It is good that I want those things, because God himself wants me to want those things.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.  John 4:22-24

Spirit and truth. Truth and Spirit. It is actually even closer then that for Jesus says the Helper/Advocate is "the Spirit of truth" (John 14:16-17). And you will experience the Spirit of truth - with you.

TRUTH. Belief. Understanding. Knowing, believing, understanding the truth. Knowing the Spirit of truth. It is not whether you are or are not a theologian. You are a theologian. The only questions are whether you will be a good theologian, a faithful theologian, a biblically wise theologian, a spiritually formed theologian and a "self-aware" theologian

Theology is thinking about God, about the truth of God. Theology is the study of God and the truth of God. Theology is reflecting on the Person and Work of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Theology produces a set of beliefs and a way of understanding the story of God in the Scriptures. Theology is the way you know and affirm the "truth that sets you free."

Depending on how carefully you have reflected on God (and the things of God) your beliefs about God are sound and healthy, comprehensive and integrated and energizing . . . or if you have done little reflection on God most likely your beliefs are scattered, incomplete, inconsistent, at places just simply in error (really departing from what the Bible teachers) and perhaps - only superficially Christian! In our increasingly pluralistic and relativistic culture - most Christians are living with fragmented belief systems. In other words - good theology is needed for faithful worship.

SPIRIT. Life with the Spirit (of truth). Living in the Spirit (of truth). Full of the Spirit (of truth). Being led to wisdom by the Spirit (of truth) Spirituality (always intimately connected with theology) is the word we use to describe the ways we experience LIFE WITH GOD. Spirituality is about the encounter with God - the Presence, Work and Word of God in personal and specific ways. In other words - good spirituality is needed for faithful worship.

In recent decades, spirituality has been on the rise and theology is in decline. Well, it is not that theology is in decline - but good, faithful, biblical, spiritually formed theology is on the decline. Which means truth is in decline. Which then means spirituality, despite appearances will be in decline as well. For apart from wise, faithful, Christ-honoring reflecting about God - you will have a hard time crafting and sustaining a wise, faithful, Christ-loving (and honoring, following, worshipping, enjoying) spirituality. 

Jesus has sent us His Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of truth. We are to worship (in fact - do all of life) in Spirit and in truth.

Theology and spirituality are meant to be joined together.

Theology without spirituality leads to dry (dead) orthodoxy, rationalism, intellectualism and minds filled with information but hearts minimally transformed.

Spirituality without theology leads to emotionalism, sensationalism, faddish experience seeking, and almost always a narcissistic - what do I get out of this approach to God?

Good theology & Good spirituality. Put them together and you get Wisdom, Faith, Love, Hope, Obedience, Joy, Beauty and Glory. You get Everything your heart and mind long for. And so does God. God gets those who worship Him in Spirit and truth.

May you be such a worshipper this day.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International

BrianRice@lcileaders.org