“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” -Matthew 15:8
Jesus did not die on the cross for us to follow some rules. He died for us to pave the way for restoring a relationship that sin so desperately tries to destroy.
The heart of God is for us to be in a vibrant relationship with Him. The question is: How do you follow God? Do you follow Him by doing the right things or by having the right heart? With resounding clarity, the answer should be having the right heart.
Jesus was intense in His interactions with people who were religious (doing the right things) but far from God in relationship. Jesus says in Matthew 23:28, “Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
The call of God is not one of perfection in religious duties; rather, it’s wholehearted devotion to our relationship with Him. I am sure you have realized that when you are in love with someone, you want to please him or her. It brings you joy to do the things that will please that person, even if it means sacrificing something for yourself.
I want to encourage you to pursue deepening and developing your relationship with Christ. The results from this will be a desire to please God. You will do the right things for the right reason from a heart of love. Always prioritize being right with God on the inside, then doing the right things on the outside.
The relationship is far more important to Christ!