The bible is full of commands, it tells us from beginning to end how to live a life that glorifies God and yet God warns us against a religion that’s all about following a list of rules so what’s the difference?
It’s our hearts Friends.
Paul cautions the Jews about hypocrisy, to not just keeping the laws outwardly but with their hearts, not just out of duty but out of love!
Their physical circumcision was a mark of the covenant between God and Abraham but they needed more than an outward sign, they needed a change in their hearts…
‘For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.’
We may be able to keep up a good show in front of others, we may strive to keep all the laws, we may go to all the services, dress modestly, read our Bible daily, pray long prayers etc but this is all empty and worthless without the heart being in it.
Friends, God not only sees the religious things we do and the commands we obey, He sees our heart in them.
Our prayers are worthless if they aren’t heartfelt and submissive to God’s will, our worship is empty if our heart isn’t in it, our bible reading does us no good if we aren’t seeking and listening to God in its pages, our dress is nothing if it’s not accompanied by ‘a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.’
Friends, there are all these things God wants us to do, He wants us to read His message to us but with seeking hearts, to commune with Him but out of desire and love, to go to church but to worship and hear from Him.
If our religion is just in our doing it is empty but if it’s in our leaning on and learning from Christ, then we walk by the Spirit.
If our religion is of self then the glory goes to us but if it’s of God and we look to Him to help us walk in all His ways then the glory goes to God and the Crown is put on the right head!
It’s all summed up beautifully by these words…
‘And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good.’
God requires our all and He’s worthy of it!
But not only does He require our all, He IS our all, ALL we need, He’s Our guide and guard, our power and strength, our shelter and rock.
Friends, is ours a service that comes from the heart, motivated by love?
Phil 3:3, 1 Peter 3:4, Deut 10:12.
Photos courtesy of Lizzy Kerley