John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
We need to learn how to worship with our spirit. Paul said in Romans 1:9, God whom I serve with my spirit. In his epistle to the Corinthians he talks about singing with his understanding and singing in the spirit, praying with his understanding and praying in the spirit (I Corinthians 14:15). It is obvious that whatever Paul did he wanted his spirit involved in it. It had to be from his spirit.
Itís important for us to learn how to worship from the inward man. Worship has to be more than a song service. We must learn how to control our spirit and focus it on the Lord as we worship. Worship is a ministry unto the Lord; it must be focused and intense.
It seems to be very difficult for people to learn how to worship from their inner being (their spirit). One good exercise is to worship silently, but as intensely as you can. It is like a spiritual isometric exercise. Close down to everything else so that your only expression is coming from the depth of your inner being. Deep calleth unto deep. Psalm 42:7.
Sometimes when my wife is teaching her flute music students, I hear her instructing them to breathe from their diaphragm. Many people do not breathe that way. So they have to learn, and it can be difficult. It is the same way with worship. We must learn how to worship from the inward man.
Before coming into a walk in the Spirit I spent a few years in the Pentecostal Movement. I became very religious. Almost everything we did was on the soul realm rather than the spirit realm. So when God began teaching me to function on the spirit realm, it was necessary to wall off the soul. I found myself floundering in unknown territory. It was very difficult. It was like the mother eagle pushing her little eaglets out of the nest for the first time. Suddenly they had to learn how to function in space with no nest under them. As they fell the mother eagle would swoop under them, catching them on her wings and body. Then she would rise up and dump them again. And the process would continue until they learned how to fly. Can you imagine how those little eaglets felt as they helplessly fell toward earth? Well, I felt just about as helpless without the soul realm to hold me up. But God was determined that I was going to learn how to function in the spirit realm. I am still learning the principles of walking with God in the Spirit, but that first big step took me about two years.
It is very necessary to close the door to the realm of soul. We will continue to move on that realm if it is not done. That is one thing the Holy Spirit does when we set our hearts to walk with God in the realm of spirit. He puts a restraint on the soul. Soulish Christians that come to a worship service where others are worshiping in spirit and in truth will feel restrained. They will not feel comfortable because the Holy Spirit will have a restraint on soulish activity.
Our soul life will not always be under restraint. The soul is an expression of the flesh nature. That is also true for Christians, until they come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. A soulish Christian is one who is dominated primarily by his soul life (natural senses, emotions, and carnal mind). Jesus is not yet his Lord. When one sets his heart to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow the Lord (Matthew 16:24), the Holy Spirit will put a restraint on his soul, so that Jesus can become the Lord over his spirit. Once a personís spirit is submissive to the Lord and is strengthened in Him, his spirit can take ascendancy over his soul life. When the spirit of a man (under the Lordship of Jesus Christ) is dominating the soul, instead of the flesh nature dominating the soul, then the soul will be an expression of what the Lord has become in that person. For whosoever will save his life (not allow his soul life to be restrained) shall lose it (will not find the life of Christ being expressed through him Ė that is, his soul will not be an expression of Christ): and whosoever will lose his life (willing to die out to self) for My sake shall find it (will find the life of Christ flowing through him). Matthew 16:25.
Psalm 103:19 The Lord hath prepared His throne in the heavens; and His Kingdom ruleth over all.
Godís throne is in the heavens. God is Spirit (John 4:24), which means that He rules and reigns from the spirit realm. That is where His throne is. The spirit realm is not just located up in the sky somewhere. It is right here with us, only it is another plane. Since we each have a spirit (are spirit beings), we have the potential to not only be aware of, but to function in the realm of spirit. When you are born again (born from above) your spirit begins coming alive to God. The Lord preparing His throne in the heavens indicates that He desires to set up His throne in your spirit (heart). If the Lord is going to be the Lord over your life, He will be the Lord over your life from the place of your spirit. The spirit of each one of us is the heavens where God desires to set up His throne.
Psalm 148:1 Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise Him in the heights.
In John 4:24 Jesus said, God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. The psalmist is saying the same thing when he says, Praise ye the Lord from the heavens. Now that doesnít mean that you have to go up in the sky somewhere to praise the Lord. It means that you are to praise Him from the inward man, from your spirit.
Most Christians worship God on a soulish level. Consequently, they donít touch God in their worship, and they are not changed. When you worship Him from your spirit, your spirit beholds the glory of the Lord and you are changed into the same image from glory to glory (II Corinthians 3:18).
Being a soulish Christian is very popular. It is not very popular to be a spiritual Christian. Very few Christians ever set their hearts to deny self, take up their cross and follow the Lord. And some of those that do donít make it. When the death process begins to work and they realize that they really have to die on that cross, they back off. They donít really want to walk with God that much. They are like the rich young ruler that asked Jesus what he must do to have eternal life. Now he was very religious for he had kept all the commandments that Jesus mentioned. So Jesus said, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give it to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven (in your spirit, or in the spirit realm): and come and follow Me (Matthew 19:21). The young man turned and walked away. He didnít want to walk with the Lord that much.
The work of the cross hurts. It doesnít feel good to die out to self. It can be more severe than physical death. But it is the only route to a walk with God in the spirit; it is the ďstrait gate.Ē Jesus said, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able (Luke 13:24). Did you hear that? Many will seek to enter in and will not be able to. Most will not even seek to enter in, and among those that do many will not be able. Do you think a walk with God is easy? It will be the most difficult thing you have ever tried to do in your life. It is not so hard to discipline yourself to go to church regularly, to pray, study the Bible, tithe, etc. But if you set your heart to really walk with God, you will find out what grace really means.
A walk in the Spirit with God is not popular. Most of your Christian friends will forsake you. That smell of death is offensive to them. It wonít be the people of the world (non-Christians) that will mostly persecute you. It will be soulish Christians. The greatest persecutions have always come from other Christians. That is the only defense soulish Christians have. The work of the cross and worship from your spirit is the only avenue to a spiritual relationship with God.
John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.
God is seeking worshipers that will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Now if most Christians were worshiping God in that way He wouldnít be seeking them. The fact is, He is seeking those kind of worshipers because there arenít many of them. They are hard to find. Isnít it a shame that there are so few worshipers that God has to seek them out?
We can be religious or we can be spiritual; the choice is ours. God wants us to be spiritual. He wants us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Set your heart on the Lord, take up your cross and follow Him. Ask Him to put a restraint on your soul, so your spirit can break through to the presence of the Lord. Itís the ďstrait gate.Ē Youíll die out to self, but itís the best decision youíll ever make.
Copyright © 2003 by Henry DuBose