Going through the Motions of Religion

Normally I reflect upon some daily suggested scriptures that can be found in our weekly Salt and Light bulletin at Asbury.  Today, though, in my own personal devotional time, I read a verse from Matthew 23 that really resonated with me. I wanted to talk a litte about it. Sorry for going off the board!

In Matthew 23, Jesus criticizes the Pharisees. They were the religious teachers of His day. They were the ones that thought the law and were the authorities for most people on what the law required and how a person of faith was supposed to live.

They wanted the people to keep and live by the law, because they were afraid. They remember what happened in the past when the people didn’t keep the law. We see in the Old Testament God say – if you keep the law, you will be blessed and have this land. If you don’t keep it, you will lose it.

The people didn’t keep it. They did their own thing and went their own way. And because of that, they lost the land. So, the leaders associated it, keeping law = land. Breaking law = losing land.

So, they were going to keep the law. And they added to the law their own laws as safeguards. They were’t going to take any chances.

So, when Jesus comes and does things they perceive as breaking law, like healing on the Sabbath, they go crazy. No! You can’t do that! No! Stop it! The reason they go so agree is because they were afraid. They had misplaced keeping the law for the point of faith.

And we see Jesus correct them today. Listen to what He says in Matthew 23:23-24:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

He said that they had kept parts of the law, but had missed the weightier and more important parts. Justice. Mercy. Faithfulness.

They had “right actions.” But they hadn’t given God their hearts. They were going through the motions of religion. But they had missed the point of it all.

Today, God doesn’t just want you act religious. He wants control of your heart. Because if He has your heart, He will have your actions.

Today, don’t worry about being religious. Worry about giving Him your everything. And if He has your all in all, He will have you actions. Today, don’t worry about going through the motions of religion. Today, make sure you are giving Him the faith of your heart!

And when He has that, you will have all you need!

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