So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'” Matthew 15:6-9 (ESV)
Don’t you just hate it when you have no choice but to say, “Yes, the prophet got that right again!”
Nothing is quite so sobering to a walk of faith as realizing you are indeed a hypocrite …
For all but about the last 15 years of my life, I was taught and embraced, without testing, the so-called Christian traditions and the teachings of men … quite religious and educated men no doubt … but men nevertheless. Let me be clear here … the fault lies with me … I did not test what I was being taught against the Scripture and by the Holy Spirit. But then I became convicted to test teachings and traditions on such things as history, government, evolution, psychology, education, religion, self-righteousness, self-esteem, etc … just like the Bereans tested the teaching of Paul and Silas …
The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, EXAMINING the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. Acts 17:10-12 (NASB)
Did you notice Luke’s little jab at Thessalonica in that passage? Note what Paul wrote to them in his first letter …
Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But EXAMINE everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (NASB)
So in these passages I sensed two warnings. First, don’t embrace teachings too quickly without carefully examining and testing against Scripture and by the Holy Spirit. Second, don’t be too quick to reject teachings without carefully examining and testing against Scripture and by the Holy Spirit. If you are a Quick Draw McGraw on either count, you just might quench the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.
So over time the Lord has led me to a point, where for the most part … and that is from my perspective … I no longer make void the word of God by embracing the teachings/traditions of men.
But that’s not to say ‘I no longer have a heart issue’ … and I felt a strong prodding from the Holy Spirit on that point during the weekend worship at church …
‘In vain do you worship Me, your words of worship are not emanating from the depths of your heart.’
But my lips are moving …
Yet, He is absolutely correct!
Way too often … and even that might be an understatement … my heart, mind and soul are distracted by and contemplating a zillion other things … besides the worship of God … as I ‘honor’ (?) God with my lips … more like a sing-along than a sing-unto.
Oh Lord … forgive me for my vain worship … there is much wisdom to be found in some of the lyrics of the Matt Redman song, ‘Heart of Worship’ …
When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longin’ just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless your heart
I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the ways things appear
You’re looking into my heart
I’m comin’ back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus
The King of endless worth
No one could express
How much You deserve? Lord
Though I’m weak and poor
All I have is Yours
Every single breath
Sing to say, it’s all about You
Every melody every heart beat
Every breath we breathe
It’s all about You
I once had a beloved brother Bob O. tell me about how he spent his time before the worship service, preparing his heart for worship … of course, it’s only been about 15 years since Bob told me that … but I may finally be getting it.
Oh Lord, make this heart of flesh you have given me also a heart of worship … fill it Lord with a worship that is all about you … a worship where my heart indeed blesses your heart!
IT TRULY IS ALL ABOUT YOU JESUS!