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Saturday, June 5, 2021

Spirit and truth in worship (and social media)

I posted the vlog below this past week and after I did, God brought an interesting insight to mind as I was thinking about John 4:21-24, where Jesus says this to the Samaritan woman (in answer to her question about whether to worship in Jerusalem or Mount Gerizim, where the Samaritans worshipped):

"The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 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. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."

There are many applications of Jesus' words here, especially when we realize that "worship" biblically is not only referring to corporate worship when believers gather to sing, pray, learn from the Word, etc., but also to what we do the rest of the week as well. And that would certainly include what we do on social media (that should be worship for God just as much as church is).

The application of Jesus' words to our social media practices, I think, are very similar to what I'm saying in the video below, and what Jesus says in the passage I discuss there (Matthew 6:1:5):

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.... And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others.

Notice (from the italicized words) that the wrong motives are what ruined the otherwise good practices of the hypocrites in Jesus' day. And that is what can ruin our social media practices today, even if they are otherwise good ones - or, in other words, even if our posts on social media are true, our motives can be wrong and thus make them displeasing to God (and harmful to ourselves and others).

The "truth" part of "spirit and truth" in John 4 is probably intended for the Samaritan woman and others who might say, "It doesn't matter if what I'm doing is biblical as long as I love God (or my motives are good)." The "spirit" part, however, is probably more for the Jews who so often did the right things for the wrong reasons. And that was somewhat new to me - I usually think of "spirit" as referring to our inner engagement or passion in corporate worship. But when we take into account the historical context I just mentioned, it seems more likely to me now that Jesus was referring to the motives we have for everything we do in life.

So when we post something on social media, Jesus would say that we should examine what we do carefully to make sure that we are being truthful according to His Word, but also that we are being motivated rightly in our hearts. 

For more on this, check out my "In the Light" vlog at (1) Social Media Pharisees? - YouTube :


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