I was at my English class and the boys insisted that they could read but just didn’t know what they were reading. The way they said it had a tug on my heart. At least the boys desired to know what it was that they were reading yet to them the words were merely words, without meaning. It reminded me of my sister in law who had studied Tamil at school as second language (compulsory for Sinhala students). She can read in Tamil but not understand it. Words that don’t have meaning but yet are words. At least for these people it was due to language limitations.
However, how often do we utter words in the languages that we are proficient in – offering merely lip service – where words are merely words and not meaningful? How often do we flatter one another? How often do we offer help and not carry it through? Of course there are times we have tried but failed to help. However there are times when we offer our words with best of intentions yet do not even try to honour our own words. In fact we all, at one point or the other, ‘lie’. That word may seem a tad harsh but it’s reality. If it’s painful for us to realise we lie to each other, how does it sound to us that we often lie to God too?
Words that are merely uttered and not said meaningfully from the heart are lies. Sadly we do this to God too. How often do we mean the words in the songs of ‘worship’ from the bottom of our hearts? Do we truly mean it when we tell Him that He is our all in all, that He is our strength when we are weak, that He is enough for us? We tell Him that we love Him, that we want to follow Him, that we want an intimate relationship with Him. Our words are used to praise Him but the very next moment we do things out of distrust in Him. Our need to analyse everything and have it all planned out leads us to run ahead of Him. In fact, more often than not, we do whatever we can in a situation.
Not all of us who call ourselves “Christians” are indeed Christians. We can be going to church regularly and we can recite scriptural verses off by heart… but that doesn’t make us Christians. Having a relationship with God and responding to His leading is what makes us a Christian. Having a head knowledge of God’s Word leads us to nowhere but hypocrisy.
In as much as these people draw near with their mouths, And honour Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men (Isaiah 29:13)
We claim to love God but then fear of situations of fear of other peoples’ opinions dominates our lives. That’s a paradox. Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow as each day has its own trouble (Matthew 6:34). He tells us not be anxious (Luke 12:29) that if we meet the criteria, God will meet our needs. But no, those are merely Bible verses and not applicable to daily life – well that’s what we won’t say but that’s exactly the message we are relaying.
God tells us to be still and know that He is God… but we in our mighty wisdom and a half, act frantically and analyse with our pea sized brains as we know more than God. We may have a beautifully bound Bible, leather cover, gold embossed but it’s all pointless if God’s Word stays with our mind without penetrating to our hearts and being evident in our actions. We are crippled by culture and pleasing one another – that we disobey God. In fact, we are uttering meaningless words to God… which are nothing but sweet little lies.
Jesus makes it clear to us that those who HEAR His Word and puts it into PRACTICE are His family (Luke 8:21) and also defines the family as whoever does the will of God – not our own wills but God’s will (Matthew 12:48). We are Christians when we hear His voice and when we follow through. Fact is if we truly love our Heavenly Father we will increasingly surrender our lives to Him knowing that He knows best. We will then increasingly bear the evidence of the fruit of the Spirit… a result of a beautiful intimate relationship with God, being led by the Holy Spirit and approaching God through the precious name of Jesus Christ.
love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – Galatians 5:22
We can’t say we love Jesus and hate our brother, as in from the family of God… Of course we won’t “hate” anyone but rather be forgiving which is not the same as being a door mat. Jesus tells us to be harmless as doves but shrewd as serpents. When we love God, we automatically love people AS OURSELVES. We no longer throw the crumbs and left overs of our resources, whether it be time or finances or material stuff but rather we begin to share. The family of God don’t make excuses but rather have a shared heart beat – that of Christ – to rejoice in one another’s places of honour and to share in the sorrows too.
It’s so sad that we too often protect the printed Word of God and have sentiments towards it, when our lives are filled with selfishness and excuses to live it out. Our priorities are way different from what God outlines – we will bend over backwards to help our biological family yet make excuses for someone who isn’t. Yet God’s definition of family is so different as we see above. May God continue to prune each one of us so that our blind spots are cleared to grow in our relationship with Him being increasingly restored to His image and being more and more at one with Him. Let us see all that we have as belonging to God and that we are His stewards. May we be Kingdom minded trusting that we are etched in the palm of His hand and that nothing can happen to us without His knowledge and that He will carry us through.
May we be a people whose words are not merely words, but instead meaningful – that we will honour Him with our words.