For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. —Philippians 3:3, KJV
What we long for is living worship. But how does this come about? Worship that is “by the Spirit of God” has three stages.
First, the initiation of the Spirit. Worship that is initiated by the Spirit is always of the Spirit, by the Spirit, and in the Spirit. Of the Spirit refers to those who have been brought to the new birth; by the Spirit describes what these reborn people are able to do—they serve God under the impulse of the Spirit.
This leads me to my second point: the impulse of the Spirit. In true worship the people of the Spirit are enabled by the Spirit to participate in the worship that God feels for Himself. For God loves Himself—and if we don’t like that fact, it is because a God of glory is offensive to our fleshly human nature. God does everything for His own glory and “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph. 1:11, KJV). And everything in all creation was designed for the worship of God.
Third, the inheritance of the Spirit is when the Holy Spirit is utterly Himself in us. When someone comes into our house we say, “Do make yourself at home.” If you really want the Spirit to be at home in you—to be Himself in you—you must open your heart directly to Him and say, “Lord, I do love You, and I will do what You say.” Complete obedience to the Spirit at home within us is the key to true worship.
Excerpted from Worshipping God (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004).