‘You must not worship the Lord your God in their way.’ Deuteronomy 12.4
It is tempting to think that it doesn’t matter how we worship as long as we are worshipping God as revealed in the Bible. However, this verse causes us to pause and rethink! It isn’t simply an instruction to avoid running after whatever ‘gods’ other people worship, but is also a warning not to turn to other ways of worshipping God. The ‘how’ we worship matters as well as the ‘who’.
Jesus said a similar thing in John 4.23, where he reveals that the kind of worshippers the Father seeks are those who worship him “in the Spirit and in truth”. If this is what God is looking out for, then presumably there are other ways of worshipping him?
So what does this mean for us? How are we called to worship? The next verse in Deuteronomy gives us a clue. It says: ‘But you are to seek the place the Lord your God will choose . . . to put his Name there for his dwelling.’ In other words, the key to right worship is about finding the place of God’s presence – and this begins with us.
As you start to worship, begin to recognise the truth of the Father’s loving presence within you, and catch a glimpse of the pleasure you bring him. Then let your worship flow out of your knowledge of these truths.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission