Greetings and good morning brothers and sisters This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series
where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years,
the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them
with you. This morning we seek to understand the meaning of being a true worshiper.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The True Worshiper
Jesus said, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in
spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." John, Chapter 4, Verse 23.
Brothers and sisters, in today broadcast, we shall consider the characteristics of a true worshiper. We
know that Father desires his children to worship him in spirit and truth, but before that state happens,
there is a long period of off again and on again worship, like a blinking light. True worship has been
defined as "practicing the presence of God." The consequence of true worship is choosing to abide
by the Father's will. In fact this is the only gift of true value that we can offer the Father, for this is
the one thing that is wholly ours.
“In God, we live, move, and have our existence; there is nothing which man can give to God except
this choosing to abide by the Father's will, and such a decision is the reality of true worship." The
Father is truth and is spirit, therefore he requires that we worship him in truth and in spirit: whole-
hearted adoration followed by the consequence of that adoration-choosing to abide by the Father's
will. By choosing to abide by the Father's will, we become one with him through his son, Jesus. And
this allows the spirit of the Father to manifest truth through us. As we seek to grasp this ever-
expanding truth of the true worshiper we must really use our faith to grasp this expanding truth.
The truth of true worship can never be grasped without faith because " truth can never become man's
possession without the exercise of faith. This is true because man's thoughts, wisdom, ethics, and
ideals will never rise higher than his faith, his sublime hope. And all such true faith is predicated on
profound reflection, sincere self-criticism, and uncompromising moral consciousness. Faith is the
inspiration of the spiritized creative imagination.””
We must look to the life of Jesus because he demonstrated the perfect example of a true worshiper.
He lived his whole life subjected to the Father's will, even to the bitter death of crucifixion. He
consciously lived in the presence of the Father at all times (and we shall examine this consciousness
of living in the Father's presence, while at the same time subject to the ups and downs and demands
of the material life). We shall consider the nature of consciousness as it applies to worship by first
using some material analogies that will help us to grasp this marvelous truth of "practicing the
presence of God."
We must put our understanding of the true worshiper and true worship on firm intellectual grounds.
True worship should be differentiated from mystical states that take the individual away from reality.
We know that according to the life of Jesus, who was a true worshiper, a true worshiper is not
isolated from material reality. A true worshiper also grapples with the material reality of his
existence. How do we enjoy the consciousness of being in the Father's presence without constantly
focusing upon it? We must understand that several kinds of consciousness can exist at the same time.
The consciousness of facts, meanings and values can all co-exist without interference. While it is
true that the values can influence meanings and meanings can control facts, this does not change the
fundamental relationship of the various kinds of realities-material, intellectual, moral, and spiritual.
We will see how this works as we begin a character analysis of the true worshiper.
We are persons, personalities. We are distinct and conscious of being so. No matter what we
experience--material, intellectual, moral, or spiritual--we never lose consciousness of the fact that
we are individuals. Nothing happens that obliterates our self- consciousness. Intellectually we can
pursue the intellectual realities of our existence, can be deeply involved in understanding the facts
and relationships of the facts to our existence, but such involvement never obliterates our
consciousness of who we are.
When we first learn to ride a bicycle, for example, we are self-conscious of doing the things that are
necessary to keep the bicycle upright. We are self conscious of pedaling, of turning and of
maintaining the correct balance. Now we know that this is a cumbersome process; while it may be
enjoyable, it still can be a terrifying experience because we realize we might fall. It is only when we
can do all that is necessary to riding a bicycle that we really become skilled at riding and thus fully
enjoy the ride. Although this is done without thinking, we are still aware that we are riding the
bicycle. A similar experience occurs when we learn how to drive a motor vehicle. It takes us a while
before we master driving to the point that no self conscious thought goes into it. We automatically
make what ever adjustments are needed, and we do not become self conscious of what we are doing
unless something happens out of the ordinary that requires us to make some other adjustment (like
adjusting to workers on a highway or avoiding an accident).
Concerning self-consciousness of a given event such as prayer or worship or any other event, our self
consciousness is like a flashlight that focuses on one spot. All other events effectively are cut from
the self-consciousness process. Very rarely is our self consciousness entirely focused on any event
entirely for an extended period of time. It is constantly shifting from one event to another depending
upon the stimuli vying for our conscious attention. And this constant shifting is associated with will.
When we shift our focus, it is because we will that focus. Sometimes this appears not to be the case,
say, for the stimulus of pain. Most of the time, it appears that whether we want to or not, our self
consciousness focuses upon the stimulus of pain. The stimulus of pain appears to snatch our attention
away from whatever else we might have been pursuing at that time without our willing it, but this
is not the case. Pain can be ignored, but most of the time we have learned that it is not a good idea
to ignore pain, and so our self consciousness automatically shifts towards it. And it is in the matter
of free will that we come to the understanding of a true worshiper-one who is constantly practicing
the presence of God.
When we shift our attention from the conscious awareness of a given event to the self conscious
awareness of an event, it is because we want to self-consciously appreciate the event (that is, become
aware of all of its intellectual, moral, and emotional components. This gives the self an assurance
and a realization of what is happening that may not have been realized before. So when we go out
to pray and to worship, we usually do so at a time when we want to minimize distractions so that we
can literally feel the full impact of such worship. Such an experience is extremely satisfying
intellectually, emotionally, morally and spiritually. But it is obvious that this self-focused state
cannot be maintained indefinitely. It is only for short periods at a time when we can escape the call
of material reality which insists upon being heard and responded to. So how are we to escape from
this apparent paradox?
We know that the reality of true worship consists of the our whole-hearted choice to abide by the
Father's will, and we know that the practice of being in the Father's presence is true worship.
Therefore by the act of choosing to abide by the Father's will, we in fact worship the Father. As long
as we, desire and choose to do the Father's will, we are in fact worshiping even though we don't
realize it. When we focus our attention upon the Father by an act of free will, we realize this true
worship. To do the Father's will is to worship the Father, and thus be a true worshiper. This decision
to do the Father's will embraces both the fact of recognition of the Father and the worship of Him.
When we move to isolate our focus on his presence by moving to an area where there are no
distractions, then we are focusing upon the self-conscious aspects of worship, and realizing the
reality of being a true worshiper, but as long as we do not rescind the decision to abide by the
Father's will, we are in effect worshiping him. We have in fact become like Jesus who was a true
worshiper because of his consistent choice to abide by the Father's will.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of being a true worshiper. We hope
you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.