John 4:24 (NKJV)
24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
It is required of all that worship God that they worship him in spirit and in truth. We must depend upon God's Spirit for strength and assistance, laying our souls under his influences and operations; we must devote our own spirits to, and employ them in, the service of God, must worship him with fixedness of thought and a flame of affection, with all that is within us. [Matthew Henry Commentary]
I was riding the crowded subway in New York City. Every 10 to 15 seconds or so, someone behind me shouted unintelligible words. The first time, I ignored them. After several outbursts, however, I turned around to see that they were coming from a disheveled man behind me.
Sitting fairly close to him was a woman reading a newspaper. As I watched, he reached out, touched her knee, and quickly brought his hand back. Not getting any response, he did it again a few seconds later. It seemed like a game a small child might play; each time, his face showed that he was pretending not to have touched her. No one said anything, but those sitting near him exchanged nervous glances and began to inch away.
I was caught off guard by what happened next. The woman put down her paper and looked at the man. I expected her to rebuke him. Instead, she politely engaged the man in conversation. "Do you know where your stop is?"
He nodded that he did.
"Do you need any help getting to where you need to go?"
He shook his head no.
I don't know what motivated this woman to treat a stranger on the subway with such kindness. But the way she asked these questions showed that she was genuinely concerned for his welfare. She chose to respond to him as a real person with real needs, not just as an annoyance on her commute.
The incident reminded me of how the Apostle Paul saw people: "We regard no one from a worldly point of view" (2 Cor. 5:16). Many people on that subway car including me had looked at the man from a human point of view. In contrast, the woman who spoke to him reflected the perspective Paul described. She addressed him as a person who had inherent worth. [Chuck Broughton, "Reflecting God's Nature," Discipleship Journal (Jan/Feb 2003), pp. 35-36]
In worshiping God we are to do so in truth and in spirit, putting aside our earthly selves. When we learn to worship God in that way we can put aside many of our earthly faults and learn to show love for our fellow man. For God shows us grace, mercy and love just like the woman showed the man on the subway.