We’re Not Fooling Anyone
Have you ever received a courtesy from someone who didn’t really mean it? Maybe someone complimented you on your appearance, when you knew you really looked like you just got out of bed. Perhaps someone told you they loved you, but it sounded more like a pre-programmed response than a genuine expression. How did that make you feel? Sometimes it hurts us more when someone pays us a phony gesture than if they hadn’t said anything at all. It’s definitely good to give compliments because it builds up a person’s spirit. However people can tell when we’re just going through the motions.
Did you know that God feels the same way? Some may think that God’s desire for our hearts is unique to Christianity. However since the beginning of time God has never taken pleasure in insincere religion.
“With what shall I come to the LORD And bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves? Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:6–8)
Did God require the Jews to offer these burnt offerings? Absolutely! Is Micah saying that God would be satisfied if the Jews had sincerely loved Him in their own way without offering these sacrifices? God forbid! The problem with the Jews of this time was that they were trying to keep God’s religious laws while completely missing the point He intended in the first place. They offered sacrifices religiously, yet they failed to be just, kind, and humble in their relationship with God and others.
We still serve the same God. Make no mistake; He does require us to obey His commands, but God takes no pleasure in an empty attempt to go through the motions. How do I know if I’m going through the motions and missing the point though? Examine your obedience to God:
- When I talk to God, do all my prayers have the same format, words, and tone?
- When I assemble to worship on Sunday, how long does it take before I’m out the door and on with my life?
- When I sing to God or partake of the Lord’s Supper does my mind wander toward unrelated topics?
- Does my encouragement of the brethren consist of no more than the standard, “How are you doing…well it was great to see you again”?
As with the Jews in Micah’s day, God desires the hearts of His children in their obedience. He can tell when we’re faking it. In striving to obey the Lord’s will, we must remember to dig deep and remember who we’re dealing with. God gave us everything we didn’t deserve…He deserves everything we can give to Him.