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Mark 7:6 How do you honor God?

As an adult, we become masterful at putting on our façade or our public persona. There are a variety of reasons we do this. Often times we act a certain way in public to communicate that we have life together regardless of what happens outside of the public view. In Mark 7 Jesus is confronted by the Pharisees and the scribes because His disciples were not keeping the ritual washing of the elders. This was an external or public ritual that communicated I am religious or spiritual. The Pharisees were upset because Jesus’ disciples were not following their rules. Jesus responds by quoting Isaiah in Mark 7:6, “This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.” I wonder how my heart is far from Jesus. Am I more concerned about following religious traditions than looking inside my heart? Am I more concerned about people seeing my religious service than I am about my heart being right?

If we are honest, it is easier to “do” religious stuff than it is to “be” right with God.

It is easier to keep a set of rules, at least I think it is. Everyone knows if you do or don’t keep them, but how do I know if my heart is right with God? If life is about doing, then at the end of every day I can collect a list of things that I have done. How will my friend or neighbor know if my heart is right with God? Also, it can be difficult and even painful to sit with God, to have a conversation, to open our lives to God, and allow Him to make changes. Many people fear being still in the presence of God. I prefer a given set of rules or at least I say I do. I struggle to keep the most basic rules that God has given us in the Ten Commandments. Our culture values “doing” over “being.”

Is there a difference between what I say I believe and how I act? Have I allowed my heart to drift away from God? Have I set up my own rules that I believe everyone is to live by whether or not I have said it out loud? Often times we put rules in our lives to prevent us from some sort of error. Initially, these rules can be helpful to keep us on a path that honors God. Over time if we are not careful these same rules that were once used to help us stay on the path become the very things we serve. Rather than giving life, they take a vibrant growing life away.

Pause today and ask yourself, Am I more concerned with rules or a relationship? Am I growing in awe of God or fear of the rules in my life? Stop and look into your heart. Are you growing closer to Jesus?

Pastor Scott


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