Shall or May

Johnny Botts talks about his job as a police officer. In his line of duty “shall” and “may” are important words. Certain laws require an arrest or a ticket to be issued by the police. These laws use the word “shall” to indicate the requirement. Other laws use the word “may.” These laws allow discretion on the part of the officer. “Shall” tells Johnny he has no choice in the matter. “May” allows him to make a decision based on the circumstances in the case. For example if I am caught speeding l “may” be given a ticket; but if l am fleeing the police I “shall” be ticketed both for speeding and evading and reckless driving. Does this type of language enter into the spiritual realm? ls there a “must” in the Bible? When Jesus said that “God desires that men worship Him” He actually gives us a choice as to whether or not we worship. But Jesus goes on to say that those who choose to worship God “must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23, 24).

There is a difference between God’s desire and God’s demand. God desires for men to worship and He demands that those who enter into worship do so “in spirit and in truth.” Not all worship is acceptable to God. ls yours? Some people worship with the right spirit but not in truth. Others worship in truth but not with the right spirit. Both are wrong. ls your worship pleasing to God?

Alton Norman
Owingsville church of Christ
Owingsville, KY

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