Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For
you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but within they
are full of extortion (prey, spoil, plunder) and grasping self-
indulgence. —Matthew 23:25
Jesus frequently chastised the religious leaders of His day
because although they did lots of good works, they did them with
wrong motives. An abundance of religious works does not always mean the person doing them is close to God. I believe that
religious activity can keep us from having an intimate relationship with God and hearing Him speak to us.
Jesus died to open the way for us to have intimacy with God, and
that should always come before any good works. It is actually
possible to do religious things while our hearts are far from God.
We should frequently do “motive checks.” God is more concerned with why we do things than He is with what we do when it comes to religious works. He said true religion is to visit, help, and care for widows and orphans in their affliction (see James 1:27).
God wants us to genuinely love and care for hurting people much more than He wants us to try to impress one another with long, eloquent prayers.
Religious people do many things to enhance their reputation rather than to serve God. They may engage in all sorts of good works, but they rarely, if ever, engage in really sharing their hearts with God or allowing Him to share His with them. These people seldom truly hear God’s voice or enjoy deep communion with Him.
God’s word for you today: Focus on your relationship with God,
not on being religious.
#tags: daily devotional JoyceMeyer