By Allen White
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” Isaiah 29:13-14
Boy, a verse like that makes you want to point a finger and pound a pulpit. But, let’s take a breath and act like these words were spoken to us. Let’s read this passage again:
“The Master said: These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their hearts aren't in it. Because they act like they're worshiping me but don't mean it, I'm going to step in and shock them awake, astonish them, stand them on their ears. The wise ones who had it all figured out will be exposed as fools. The smart people who thought they knew everything will turn out to know nothing" (Isaiah 29:13-14, Msg).
God knows when we’re just playing the game. How does He know? He knows everything. He knows our thoughts and our motives. In fact, God understands more about us than we even understand about ourselves.
We might be able to fake it and look pretty good to other people, but it’s not a long-term plan. If the outside doesn’t match the inside, then eventually the whole thing breaks down. If you don’t believe that, then your train wreck is still on its way.
God is a Jealous God (Exodus 34:14). He doesn’t want you to merely serve a coping mechanism. God wants our full devotion. He will do whatever it takes for you to put Him in the center. Why? Is God selfish? Absolutely not. God wants to be in the center of your life because that’s how you were designed to live.
Notice, that God isn’t going to punish you into submission. He is going to “wow” you there. In all of these things that you wrestle with and worry about, God is trying to tell you, “I’ve got it. Don’t worry. Let me blow you away with what I can do for you.”
No one falls in love with someone who scolds them, except for the affection of a few American Idol contestants toward Simon Cowell. You love people who are affectionate and kind and thoughtful. You fall in love with people who go to crazy lengths to demonstrate their love. (Please note: this is not license for stalkers).
God understands you. He isn’t scheming about how He can punish you more so He can win your affection. That’s really kind of sick. God wants to lavish you with His great power and love. Now, you might find yourself in a terrible situation that requires God’s great power, but that doesn’t mean that He has stopped loving you.
What are you doing that your heart is just not in? How are you pretending to be better than what you are? I’m not saying that you should unleash the seething beast that lives just below the surface, but I would encourage you to take that to God and figure out why it’s there.
If you just don’t feel that you desire God these days, I’ve heard a pastor advise his church members to stay away from church services until they want to be there again. When you feel that you can truly worship, and put your head and heart into it, then come back.
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