God detests lip service. He would rather a person be openly rebellious than pious, but devious. He KNOWS our hearts; who are we trying to fool?
22 The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are truthful. Pr 12:22
I had always read this verse as meaning people who are dishonest with other people. This morning, though, I saw it a different way. We dishonor God when we say one thing to Him and then act another. But, we are not alone in this quagmire. The Israelites had the same problem:
13 The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Isa 29:13
Jesus quoted this very verse about the people in His day:
7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: Mt 15:7-9
In that passage, the leaders were twisting the Law to meet their own agenda. Jesus called them on it. They were offended. Jesus wasn’t interested in defending Himself.
The problem with the Law is that we DON’T know enough about any circumstances to make a qualified judgement. What leads to excess for one may not for another. What leads to liberty for one may lead to the temptation to wield that liberty as a club for another. Only the Spirit knows each heart and what is best for each person, which is why Jesus introduced the Law of Love:
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. Jn 13:34
It comes down to this: Do we trust the Holy Spirit to convict and lead every Christian? Are we convinced that He will work with every Christian to bring about Christ-likeness in each of us? Then, let’s believe-and keep on believing-that He is working in us and in other believers to make us holy and spotless and will present us to Himself in due time. Paul sums it up for us:
15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Phl 3:15-16
LOVE must be our ultimate goal. It is the defining characteristic of a follower of Christ.
35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jn 13:35
Let’s get out there and love each other!