I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Yodit Kifle SmithEarly on in my faith walk, I thought going to church, reading my Bible, praying before a meal and being nice to people were what got God’s attention. I believed the things I did mattered apart from the posture of my heart towards Him.
Over time, I've come to understand that a right heart posture towards God isn’t primarily cultivated by what I do for God but because I recognize what God has done for me through Christ Jesus. Scripture makes it clear what God’s desires from His people: Obedience. Not the kind of obedience that parades behind our religious works but an obedience that is rooted in the gospel and grows genuine fruit that desires to please God.
God makes this distinction between so-called obedience and heart-posture-born obedience abundantly clear in the book of Isaiah chapter 1:12-17 when He declares to the people of Judah:
“When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations--
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow's cause.
This was written centuries ago, but God's heart for our obedience remains for His people today. He is not pleased with performative obedience, while our hearts are far from Him. God is not fooled and He doesn’t want our hearts to be fooled either.
The truth is we can get caught up in this very easily if we are not paying attention to our hearts. There have been plenty of times where I was busy every day of the week serving in church and all along, my heart wasn't being truly cultivated in Him. I was barely making time to be still before Him and immersing myself in His Word. And while the things I was doing were in and of themselves "good," my heart and my posture weren't being nourished by His Spirit because I was relying on myself to do these "good works" and I found that I was doing it for others to see me and not for God's true delight.
Sisters, He desires our reasonable worship that turns from evil, does good that glorifies Him, and seeks the welfare of others. And the beautiful thing is that His steadfast love, amazing grace and daily mercies enable us to this kind of obedience.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:Isaiah 1:12-17
Questions to Reflect on: