8 ‘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 NKJV
The other day, my friend asked me to read Matthew 15:1-20 and give my interpretation of it. Well, when you read the whole passage, there are many facets in it and at the time, I gave him what came to me. But since then, I have been pondering on what I had read and the above verse keeps coming to my heart.
The reason being is that I think that especially during this week of Passion, we should be preparing our hearts and spirits for the extremely personal gift that Jesus gave to us. He is reminding me of this fact--many people, including myself at times--worry more about what is on the outside, and neglect to take care of the inside.
Take myself for example. I have a codependent addiction. In order to feel worthy, or good about myself, I need to have other people like me. I don't want to have people mad at me or disappointed. I don't want rejection. Not so bad right? It's better than being codependent to drugs or alcohol right? Well, just as sin is sin, addiction is addiction.
But what makes me feel like the above verse is speaking to me is because even though I love my God more than life itself, I allow myself to get into the codependent trap. I am on the outside trying to be and look and say all the right things that will make those around me to like me, to want to be around me. But inside, I am dying because I am not being what and who God created me to be. I could go do something just to please that person, even though my spirit is telling me that God isn't pleased. To make it worst, I may even be holding resentment in my heart and spirit towards those people because I feel judged by them or feel less than, whatever.
The same can be said about our relationship with God. Are we just going to through the motions--saying the right words, doing the right things--yet our hearts aren't in it?
What about you? Do you find that your walk with God is dry? Do find yourself saying the things that you know you should say, pray the prayer that you feel is the right prayer that others will admire? Attend the Bible study you feel you are expected to attend? Serve in the ministry that someone else said you should? Yet, your God feels even further away than ever! What is going on?!
Stop! Right now, stop "doing" church! Stop "doing" faith and start "being"! Be in a healthy relationship with your God. Be focusing on what is happening in your heart and spirit. Be in tune with what God is telling you. Be in those quiet moments with Him. Be in the Word. Be in prayer.
It is good to serve, attend Bible studies, etc. But it is better to have the inside--heart and spirit--primed and filled and secured with His love and the knowledge of who you are in Him--first. Then go do.
You see, God had planted good friends around me to let me know that I was loved but I had an addiction and I needed to fix it. Because, really, even though we think that we are looking good and everything on the outside--truth be told--we aren't. And so I took wise counsel and joined a Celebrate Recovery 12-Step Program for co-dependency and learned God's way of controlling my issues. And now, most days, I have the tools to keep those issues at bay.
The same can be for you. If you find that you just can't be real with God and yourself, find some help. Maybe there is a Celebrate Recovery Program in your area. Maybe you can make an appointment with your pastor or a good and grounded Christian friend that can mentor to you and hold you accountable. Just pray and give it to God and ask Him to guide you on how to work this out. He wil.
In the end, all God truly wants is your heart. ALL of it. The rest of whatever comes is just icing on His cake. We are the ones that make it phony and difficult. After all, He loves us with an everlasting love.
I praise you for being you. I praise you for your grace towards me and my shortcomings. The funny thing is that even though I see them as shortcomings, I don't think you even see them at all. That is where your grace comes in.
Please forgive me for the times that I am more concerned about how I appear to the world than how I appear to you. Please forgive me for those times when I am phony to you. I say what I think you want me to say or I praise you for something, but in my heart, I know I am holding a grudge against you or there is doubt. You deserve so much more than that.
Please hold me accountable to my role as your child and your child only. Please bring to my spirit, those things that I need to change or get rid of that are not of or from you. Please help me to have a renewed desire to be in true relationship with you. In your precious name, Amen