The material in quotes in today’s blog is actually taken from the notes of The Reformation Heritage Bible on Zechariah 7 that I was reading this morning. I couldn’t say it any better.
“Perfunctory religious rituals without a genuine heart for the Lord never pleases Him. God is never satisfied with religion without devotion. These fasts commemorating the captivity were of their own devising and were conducted without any thought toward God. Whatever their motive, it was not a service being rendered to God. It is all too easy to be taken up with the liturgical calendar or even routine services and assume that the mere exercise or observance pleases the Lord. Those that worship God must do so with genuine hearts (in spirit and truth), and God looks through the rituals right to the heart.”
This is exactly what Jesus meant when He told the church at Ephesus that they had left their first love. Oh, they were right on in many areas of theology and practice, but the problem was that they had become a religious machine. They were no longer being driven by the love of Jesus or a love for Jesus. It was business as usual. Every single Christian and every local church must realize how easy it is to “do the work of The Lord” without being motivated by a love for The Lord of the work. We can fast, pray, give and sing with no real regard for Christ. It happens all the time.
May God grant to writer and reader alike a genuine wake up call regarding the motives of why we do what we do. 1 Cor 13 tells us that we can do some outstanding religious things without an ounce of love. God help us and deliver us from such self centered expressions of “faith.” Selah