The Matter of the Heart

Friday, April 10, 2015

“These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.”—Matthew 15:8

Have you ever found yourself distracted during a time of worship? As you’re singing, maybe you’re thinking, I am so sick of this song. Why are we still singing this song?Or maybe you’re looking around and saying to yourself,I’m more spiritual than anyone here. I’m such an awesome worshiper. Then again, you might be thinking,I wonder what I should eat after church?

During a worship service, it’s possible to have no thought of God whatsoever. But here’s what we need to know: Worship is not an art form; it is a heart form. God looks at what is going on inside. Quoting from Isaiah, Jesus said, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matthew 15:8).

Jesus told the story of a Pharisee and a tax collector who both went to the temple to pray. Tax collectors were despised in the eyes of nearly everyone, while Pharisees were the most religious guys around. Jesus said that the “Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess’ ” (Luke 18:11–12).

The tax collector, however, stood at a distance in the temple. He wouldn’t even look up to heaven as he beat his breast and prayed, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!”

Jesus concluded by saying, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other” (verse 14). Why? Because his heart was right toward God.

When we worship, let’s do it from our heart. Because the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.

Radio Program: “What Every Christian Needs to Know about Prayer — II”
TV Program: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”
Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 8-10, 2 Corinthians 10
Donate to Harvest

Used by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, PO Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

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