“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Matthew 15:8)
Something that became evident to me quickly as a young husband (33 years ago) was that I can say “I love you” to my wife until I’m blue in the face, but unless she observes that I love her, it’s just lip service, empty words. Unless I demonstrated love via my choices, actions, and priorities, she felt she didn’t have my heart.
In Matthew 15, Jesus accuses the Israelites of giving Him only lip service. Jesus said their religious leaders liked to stand on street corners, arms raised, voicing pious prayers for all to see, but he said their words were not sincere. It was all a show to win the praise of men. They had exchanged a love for God with a love for status, position, and power. These had become their true gods. It’s possible to tell God we love Him, and all the while He views them as empty words if our affections are attached elsewhere.
Borrowing again from marriage, we all know what is meant by the “honeymoon stage.” When our spouse comes into our world, everything is new, fresh, and exciting. We love them so much that all of our choices and decisions are made while determining whether those decisions will impact that relationship in a negative way. Do you make decisions with God in mind? How those decisions will affect your relationship with Him?
Hebrews says our hearts are “open and laid bare before Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). He sees your heart. Does God have your heart? Or, do other “gods” have your heart. As time’s gone on, has something lured your heart away from Him? Jesus would say to you the words He said to the Ephesian church in Revelation 2:4-5: “I have this against you: You have abandoned your first love. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”
Question: Reading this devotion, has a love other than God come into focus?
Challenge: What must you do to repent and do the works you did at first?
Prayer: O Lord, grant us pure hearts, with a pure love for You.
Rob Crose -- BC Staff