Actually it’s more than one verse because I feel like you can’t understand one verse without hearing the others.

Matthew 23:2-9

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law are experts in the Law of Moses.

So obey everything they teach you, but don’t do as they do. After all, they say one thing and do something else.

They pile heavy burdens on people’s shoulders and won’t lift a finger to help.

Everything they do is just to show off in front of others. They even make a big show of wearing Scripture verses on their foreheads and arms, and they wear big tassels[a] for everyone to see.

They love the best seats at banquets and the front seats in the meeting places.

And when they are in the market, they like to have people greet them as their teachers.

But none of you should be called a teacher. You have only one teacher, and all of you are like brothers and sisters.

Don’t call anyone on earth your father. All of you have the same Father in heaven.

God has really been laying this on my heart lately. The challenge being, why do we do what we do? Do we serve God because HE wants us to, or because WE want to. These are the questions I asked myself while thinking about this the other day:

  1. Why do I got to church? Is it because that’s what my parents have always done and want me to do?

2.  Am I worshipping, praying, going up to the altar, fasting out of love (wanting               to get closer to God) Do I do these things because I want something from Him and           see no other way out; am I using God?

3.  Do I tithe so people can see? Do I care too much about who will see the                          amount? Do I give with a joyful heart like the woman with two mites? Do we                      just want to look like we’re devoted to the church? (Mark 12:41-44)

 

If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, and you see everyone else growing in their relationship with God except for you, maybe it’s time for a change. I’ve struggled myself with this from time to time. You know you’re SUPPOSED  to go to church and read the Bible and lift your hands and you refuse to curse and don’t cut people off on the highway. You know what the perfect Christian looks like, but how is that helping you any if you’re putting on facade for everyone? When I read the word of God, I usually feel something happening on the inside of me. Like some mess is being cleaned up. I never want to get the point where I double shrug while reading it because what’s being said no longer has any effect on me. (A double shrug means you’re nonchalant about something) In other words, I don’t want to sit up straight in church with my perfectly ironed outfit and be a robot saying, “Amen.” at the appropriate time. It’s just not me. One thing I hate more than anything is people who pretend to love God, and then ruin it for people that are thinking about serving God. People stay out of churches because they think that Christians think they’re “holier than thou” and hat everyone who isn’t as perfect as them. Then you find out that leaders who have claimed to be doing the right thing, have actually been doing the opposite and it’s broadcast on the 5:00 o’clock news. NonChristians see this and say, “There go those Christians again being hypocrites.” They are then turned off by the idea of even going in a church. All because of one person’s actions. Jesus himself even said that He can’t stand this either in verse 13 and 14 of the same chapter:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

He hates when people try to act perfect around other people because it makes it seem like there are unreachably high standards for having a relationship with him. The whole reason He was on this earth was because we AREN’T perfect. To fix our mess. So to act as though we are better than others when we’re all the same is…I can’t even think of a word.

 

I want to know that I ‘m giving God my all because I truly want Him more than anything, not because I’m afraid He’s going to condemn me. I know that God recognizes when I’m being real, and when I’m just screwing around. My prayer for anyone reading this today is that you get as much out of reading those verses as I did. It starts with asking God to give you a new mindset. We have to ask Him to forgive us for the way we’ve been thinking and for being “too religious” and start giving our whole heart to Him, no matter how it makes us look. I’ve started checking myself every time I feel a little prideful about something, and I think I’m getting better at it. I love the new song by Kari Jobe called, “Cause Of Christ” that talks about being dedicated to the agenda of God and not your own. When I listen to it, I’m reminded of where I come from and how far I’ve come. So until next time, don’t be robotic with the love you give to God, then you’ll finally be able to say that you do what you do, for HIM.

 

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