My intention is all that matters?

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Recently I was witnessing to someone involved in new age practices who also claims to believe in Jesus.  She commented that intention will sanctify her prayers.  In other words, it doesn’t matter what new age technique I use or who I pray to or how I do it as long as my intentions are pure, God will be honored by it.  She can pray to the universe or the universal one or God or Jesus, it doesn’t matter since she is “sincere.”

I told her God does not allow us to worship him using any technique we want and surely not those techniques used to worship other gods.  And then she asked a very good question.  She said, “How can I know what God wants?”

I said, “If the bible can be proved to be true then I can trust what it says.  In it God says to us what He wants.”

On the surface what she said about being sincere sounds reasonable.  After all the bible teaches “you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul” so if I seek God with all my heart and soul with good intentions God will be pleased right?  The question is “Is she seeking the truth with all her heart or is she merely inventing worship she is comfortable with?”

The bible says God accepts worship from those who “worship Him in spirit and in TRUTH.”  This means we must worship God as He wants it, not as I want it. This means the worshiper must attempt to find out what God wants and then do what He says.  After all, if I am truly “sincere” than I should be willing to abandon my erroneous worship practices.  If I’m not willing to do that, I’m not “sincere” at all.

Sincerity with ignorance

From my experience there are two types of “sincere” people.  The first are those who are misled and ignorant of what God wants but desires to know the truth.  Some biblical examples of this are Lydia, the Apostle Paul and the woman at the well.

Here we see Lydia already worshiped God but her worship was incomplete so God opened her heart to hear more.

Acts 16:14 NKJV
Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul

The Apostle Paul worshiped God ignorantly.

1 Timothy 1:13 NKJV
although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

The woman at the well was awaiting the Messiah who would instruct her in all things.  She already had faith in the coming Messiah.

John 4:25
25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.

Sincerity with pride

The second type of “sincere” person are those who do not care what God wants but pridefully worship God any way they want.  These people make up their own rules for worship, label them as holy, and presumptiously expect God to honor what they invented.  When they are confronted with what God truly wants, they reject it and in fact, get angry about it.

The story of Cain and Abel is a good example (Genesis 4).  Abel’s offering to God was accepted but Cain’s was not.  Cain’s heart was not sincere in his offering to God, it was prideful, and therefore his offering was rejected.  Cain became angry and eventually killed his brother Abel over it.

The Pharisees, the religious leaders of Jesus’s day, worshiped God using their own rules.  Jesus told them their worship is not acceptable by God.

Matthew 15:9 NKJV
And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ “

Eventually the Pharisees killed Jesus over his statements that their worship is wrong.

Christianizing Worship

There are many well meaning people who try to Christianize the worship of other religious practices.  Yoga, for example, is a worship practice of Hindus, yet there are Christians who think they are worshiping God by practicing Yoga.  Transcendental Meditation (TM) is worship of Hindu Deities but some Christians who practice TM think they are worshiping God.  There are many occult techniques for worship that are being brought into the church of God by “sincere” people.  The problem is God does not accept these forms of worship because they are designed to communicate with other gods and not Him.  God wants us to separate ourselves from these forms of worship and not copy them.

Deuteronomy 12:30-31
30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.‘ 31 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods;

In Spirit and in Truth

“As long as I am sincere I can worship God any way I want” is missing the most important element of worship. The most important element in worship is truth.  Am I worshiping God the way He wants it?  Or the way I want it?”

God is seeking those who will worship Him in Spirit and Truth.  He is seeking those who are sincere enough to worship Him the way He likes it, not as we like it.

John 4:23-24
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

If you are truly “sincere” you will want to know what God likes and worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

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