Saturday, June 03, 2006

Worship - Part 2

First, then, let us look at what it means to worship in spirit. I Thessalonians 5:23 tells us that there are three parts to man – body, soul, and spirit. Some Christians don’t accept the idea of three parts but rather believe there are just the body and soul. We should still be able to be friends and brothers even though we might disagree on this point. However, I have come to believe in the three-part nature of man for a number of reasons. The first reason is from the passage I have just referred to in I Thessalonians. Secondly, Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” This is telling us that the word of God is able to distinguish and divide between the soul and spirit even though we may not always be able to do so. Third, we are told in Scripture that in our natural state we are dead in trespasses and sins. I take that to mean that our spirit is dead. The soul is usually considered to be the seat of our mind, will and emotions and certainly our soul is not dead before being born again. Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born again. He told him that that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. I assume then that in the new birth, the spirit is born from above and becomes alive.
Why is it important to wade through all of that just to discuss worship? The answer is that Jesus said that our worship is to be in spirit. If there is confusion between soul and spirit, the importance of His statement will not be readily apparent. Often we are stirred emotionally because of something that has occurred in the worship service. This is an emotional response in our souls. This does not necessarily mean that it has affected our spirit. Some events are received through our bodies and are passed “down” to our soul and we have some emotional response or make some decision as a result. Other events, spiritual events, affect are spirit and are communicated to our soul and we have a response or make a decision. It’s not always easy to tell the difference. A true worship event can trigger an emotional response. But the thing we need to remember is that just because we had a strong feeling associated with an experience does not mean it was a spiritual experience. We are easily fooled. Remember, worship must be in spirit AND truth. We’ll get to the truth part later.
Some music and some visual productions trigger responses in our bodies which are then acted upon by our mind, will and emotions. But these events may be focused on and targeted on the body. In that case they may be fleshly and not spiritual. (Notice I said “may be”) We need to be able to tell the difference. Some music and other input can stir us emotionally even though it may not have anything to do with Biblical truth. I listen to classical music quite a bit and some music stirs me almost to tears and yet as far as I know, there is no spiritual truth being conveyed. My point is that we need to be careful and discerning as to whether our worship is in spirit or is focused on the flesh or soul.

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