Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

The word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Know this, beloved, two people can be doing the exact same thing but from entirely different motives. It is possible for Christians to slip into the routine of living by the book, as opposed to serving from the heart.

You think not? What did Jesus say to the orthodox, hard-working, patient and discerning-of-spirits saints at Ephesus? “I have somewhat against you because you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4) The church today is filled with religious Pharisees. They can discern what is wrong and who is wrong. They can quote Scripture fluently. But it all stems from their mind and not their heart.

A heartless legalist is like the proverbial bull in the China shop. Their lips are saying the right thing, but their feet are shod with hostility and discord. In their presence you sense an absence of heart that leaves you feeling high and dry.

You see, beloved, I can be right in what I am saying or doing, but at the same time be dead right. From the heart is where the love of God is shed abroad in words and deeds that bless others and glorify the Name of Jesus. Let’s not simply say that we are living by the book. Let’s live out the faith that comes from the heart. The Spirit gives life. The flesh profits nothing (John 6:63).