This is the revelation shaping my life today:
These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.
It is so easy to create rules in the name of God without them being sanctioned by God. Traditions and man made regulations created by the church become more important than the ways that God directs us in His word, or by His intimate presence. “Teachings that are merely human rules.” This is religious obedience that God detests. We worship ourselves when we come under the control of such teachings. It’s vain worship! Be humble enough to hear the rebuke!
God is really not interested in the outward, it’s the heart that matters. We love to judge behaviour but we do not see the heart. This is a good reason why we are ill equipped for judgement of anyone but ourselves, we can never see motivation. I can only see my heart, and God is only interested in behaviour that flows from the response of love and delight in Him. This is worship – being loved by God and cherishing His words from the intimacy of His embrace so that they joyfully shape my life. Here is true worship. If it’s not from love, in love, for love, then it may be what God calls me to, but not the way He calls me to be. God says, you can give yourself up in sacrificial service of another but if it does not flow from a heart of love then the sacrifice is offensive. The heart is what matters to God.
We want to have religious laws before intimate relationship. We want to be told what to do by man made rules, rather than be personally intimately lead in life spirit to Spirit. But religion only leads to rebellion, fear, heavy burdens, judging others, mask wearing cover up, it never leads to joy and freedom and celebration.
Check what is motivating my behaviour, my life of worship. Are the ways I worship and honour God in my life shaped by Him, from the intimacy of being with Him? Do I cherish them, and desire them? Are they expectations from man, church, religion, to get love, accepted? Am I behaving out of obligation, fear, trying to earn or deserve favour? Is my heart engaged or is it my head? I will see that if I can live in the what of the Kingdom of God but not in the way of the Kingdom then I will not see the fruit of the Kingdom; its in vain – it’s not God honouring worship.
Thank you that you have not handed me a rule book by which I must impress you. I love that you hate rules, and have done away with all law and punishment. Authentically living with you, authentically being me, being true to my heart, is the way you want me to live. “Search my heart and show me what you see.” I love the intimacy of life with you, the empowering presence and love that shapes the real me, the whole of my life. I am a blessed man.
Spend some time in meditation. Search your heart for your motivation.