Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
How near or how far is our heart from God? Or is it that our lips are closer, talking a good talk, professing our faith while our heart does not intend to live it out? That is an important distance that we must be aware of, because our heart is what matters most to Him. Let us take some time to look very closely into our hearts and find what kind of attitude is in there.
We put so much effort into our appearance of righteousness, into the external things that can be seen and judged by other people, but God’s focus is on our hearts. That is where He wants to see love and devotion, obedience and faithfulness. He doesn’t want us to merely appear righteous by following a bunch of man-made laws, but He wants us to actually be righteous by obeying Him. He doesn’t want us to look so good on the outside that other people see and have a blackened, defiled heart inside for Him. He doesn’t want this empty worship, but a meaningful relationship.
Simply following rituals and traditions is not going to draw us closer to God. Going through the motions out of some dutiful obligation is not going to help us know Him better. We must invest all of ourselves purposefully into our worship. It must be borne from a genuine heart of love and affection and demonstrated through our obedience to Him. And when we really start to know Him better as we seek Him daily, that changes our hearts and also draws us closer to Him. And when our walk with God becomes more about Him and less about us, that deepens our relationship and also our commitment to Him.
What does God see in us when He looks upon our hearts? There is no chamber of it that is hidden from Him, so will He find some attitudes that displease Him? Will He find hypocrisy because we’re just putting on a show and not really devoted to Him? Or does He see in us a heart of love for Him that truly desires to honor and serve Him? God does not force us to worship Him, but as we grow to know Him, we won’t be able to hold back a heartfelt, genuine worship of our amazing and gracious Lord.