By Marni Montanez
New Life Version (NLV)
31. They come and sit in front of you as My people, and listen to the words you say. But they do not do them. With their mouth they speak of love, but their hearts are full of sinful desire.
32. They think of you as nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays music well; for they hear what you say, but they will not do it.
We live in a society of narcissists who act as though nothing was as important as them and their lives. This attitude is slowly creeping into the church. It is a spirit of entitlement that hovers over our lives like a cloud. Being in this world we are affected by whatever influence surrounds us and we are becoming prisoners of its enticing power.
Arenít Christians supposed to be different? Doesnít it say in Godís word that we are regarded as peculiar people? But how can we be called peculiar when we are acting like those around us?
We go to church and listen for the words that will pump us up and excite us into feeling good about ourselves and we are recharged for another week. We know the phrases like ďpraise God and bless youĒ to those around us. Itís easy to play a part when we donít have to play it very long. For that moment when the music is playing we sing hallelujah like we really mean it, but that moment is left behind in the sanctuary. Many Christians today go to church and wear the mask of holiness. They are governed by emotional services that only speak to their feelings and Godís righteousness never takes root. This verse is challenging us to self-reflect in the mirror of Godís righteousness and see our reflection honestly. Most of us would have to look quickly away when we are face to face with the truth of our fleshly and ungodly image. This verse is that mirror.
It must grieve the Lord to see His people being false and pretentious. He looks into the hearts of those who confess they are His and their deception is not hidden from Him. He was trying to wake these people as He is trying to awaken this generation.
When God said ďdo not forsake the assembly of the righteousĒ He knew we needed to be spiritually fed. He knew there would be Christians who use their bible as a center piece on the coffee table and rarely look inside.
We must hold on to every word, whether directly from the bible or spoken by a servant of God. No, I am not saying that reading a bible or listening to a message will make us a Christian; that is done at the cross, but as a Christian we need to take seriously the life giving tools from God that enable us to go deeper in our walk. The attitude we take into a Christian gathering will determine what we take away. We will either bring home dessert or a good healthy meal. We must meet the challenges God inspires with in the messages and music and not only listen, but adhere to them in our daily lives. God is inviting us to listen and to let His words sink into the core of our being so that from this wellspring of life we may be in His perfect will, touching otherís and ministering in the way God wants us to minister.
Challenge: Close your mouth and open the ears of your heart. Be purposeful when listening to men and woman of God speaking Godís message and listen to the intent of the songs. Then practice them.
The purpose of this series is to encourage people to live as loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God: Jesus tells us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10) God tells us through Micah (6:8), "He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God." And we know from Revelation 21:4 that there will be no more mourning, or crying, or pain, or death. Thus, Christian living requires us to set the standards of these conditions here on earth for our fellow human beings, and for the other animals, as a witness to the rest of the world. To do otherwise is not Christian.