. . . offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. (Rom 12:1)

” . . . true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. (John 4:23)

How do we worship God truly?

The foundation of true worship is an understanding that worship isn’t a part-time occupation. or a scheduled event. It’s not found in ritual, but in full-time relationship.

Perhaps that’s why God so often likens His relationship with us to marriage. In a true marriage, the relationship affects everything that each partner thinks, feels and does. Even when they aren’t together in time and space, they’re together in spirit. As each considers the demands of family, work and community, they take into account the impact on their partner, and count on their support.

Each understands how vital it is to nourish their relationship by spending time together, consulting the other before making decisions, recognizing and working for common purposes. They see their own strengths and weaknesses, depending on the other to make each more complete through their union. Their commitment is total. They don’t take their relationship for granted, and continue to do the things that keep it healthy.

When both husband and wife understand this and live it, marriage is as it is meant to be. When marriage is seen by one partner as a part-time commitment, the relationship is lopsided. Uneven devotion leads to frustration that can’t fulfill either partner. When neither is fully committed to the other, the marriage is merely one of convenience or convention — and usually contention.

What does this mean for me as a believer who has pledged my heart to Jesus? It means that He affects everything I think, feel and do. I means I take into account how the demands on my time and resources impact my relationship with Him. If these demands would relegate Him to the sidelines, I reduce the demands and not the relationship.

It means that I intentionally choose to nourish the relationship by spending meaningful time with Him, by consulting Him, by seeking His purposes and making them mine. His words are precious to me, and I read them over and over. His Spirit embraces me, and I know He will never leave or forsake me. He always has time for me, always listens, always understands. He knows everything about me and loves me anyway.

I am constantly in awe of that love; that I have a partner who meets my every need, lends His strength to my every weakness, on whom I can depend in every circumstance.

Is this true of me every hour of every day? Sadly, no. At one time in my life I had a marriage of convenience, when I related to Jesus mostly when I needed something. Then I moved on to a lopsided union when I had a part-time commitment. I put my life into compartments, only some of which were impacted by faith. My relationship wasn’t holy, but holey — holes you could throw a horse through.

Now, by virtue of His enduring patience, I’m committed to all compartments open for inspection, intervention and impact. While He is by far the only perfect partner in this union, I’m experiencing so much more than I used to. The more time I spend with Him, the more time I want to. The more I consciously turn to Him, the more I discern His wisdom. The more I depend on Him, the more I enjoy the gift of His peace.

In relationship with God through Jesus, every one of us has the chance to know the privilege of life with the ultimate partner. He’s completely committed, absolutely dependable, always wise. His character and motives are unassailable, His nature is fair and forgiving, His heart filled with a sacrificial love that wants only our best.

Why would I NOT worship Him — full time, with a full heart, for my full life. Truly!