Matt 15:8, These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Do we "talk a good game" when it comes to our faith, or are we just giving "lip service" to Jesus? Jesus doesn't just want us to talk the talk, he wants us to walk the walk. Is it important for us to serve on committees at our church? Is it important for us to do fund raisers that help the church? Is it important for us to attend that small group, or go to church regularly, or give to the church, or be a "good person ", or read our bible. The answer to all of those questions is an obvious yes. Any "good Christian" knows that. However, where are our hearts? Are they far from Jesus? When I look back at some of the "good things" I've done in my life, my heart was surprisingly far from Jesus.
Yes, I helped with that fund raiser, but it was only so I could have control over the money we raised so that it didn't go to things I didn't want it to, or to programs I didn't deem worthy, or to groups not deserving. That money was never mine to begin with, it was meant to do God's work, not mine. Yes, I thought my intentions were worthy and God centered, but I don't remember Jesus being exclusionary in service to His Father. What about when churches refuse to change because that's the way they've always done it and that's what makes them most comfortable?
When Jesus gave the great commission to go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, He didn't say, but you can exclude those that don't look like you, or think like you, or worship like you, or don't "fit in". And He didn't say, go make disciples of those that do what you want to do and what makes you most comfortable. In all that we do, in all that we say, is it for our own self satisfaction and to make us feel better about ourselves and to make us comfortable, or is it in service to Christ?
We as a church can't say we are accepting of all, but then do things that are the exact opposite. And I don't just mean with those new to our church, I mean with those we've been worshiping with and serving with together for years. What are our intentions when we do or say specific things in the church? Is it for the betterment of all, is it in love, is it in true, heartfelt service? Or is it just lip service? It looks good on the outside, but on the inside it's spiteful, or hurtful, or gossip filled, or worse yet, just plain mean. Where are our hearts? Jesus doesn't just want us for an hour or so on Sunday mornings, or to do His Father's work because "we're supposed to". He wants all of us all the time and especially our hearts. Are our hearts in it?
We can't honor Him with our lips, when our hearts are far from Him. Jesus not only wants our hearts, He knows what's in our hearts as well. We can hide our true intentions from the world, but Jesus knows what's inside. I was recently asked the following question. What is our greatest asset as a church? My answer was, our love of Christ. It was then followed by this question. What is our biggest fault? My answer was, remembering our love of Christ.
In John 13:34-35 Jesus says, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love each other. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."