We all learn some things by rote—memorization by repetition. That’s not bad. We learn scripture by repeating it aloud and writing it repeatedly until we know it.
Where we get in trouble is when we let the things that are meant to be intentional become mechanical repetitions.
When our worship of God is something we do just because we’re supposed to, we’re edging toward trouble. When we go into worship—whether at home or at the church building—and come out without a sense of having actually met with God, something is wrong. When we’re okay with that, something huge is wrong.
Isaiah is speaking from God here, talking about a coming judgment on the Jews because of their choices to follow their selfish ways. They would go to the Temple, make their sacrifices, say their daily prayers, touch the mezuzah as they entered or left their homes, wore their prayer shawls, observed every feast and holy day… they did all the things of religion, but their hearts never encountered God.
It’s much easier to check an item off our mental and spiritual checklist than it is to stop to listen and worship according to the Spirit. We can sit down with our Bible and read the words, mark off that we’ve read them, never acknowledging that the Spirit of God is revealing Himself to us, convicting us of sin, or teaching us. We can choose to read a daily devotion every single day without looking into the Word.
One of the first rules God imposed on man was to have no other gods before Him. No other gods. Yet we put so many things before God in our hearts and minds, letting them determine our paths and attitudes. We need to honor God with our lips, but also with our hearts. We need to be sure our worship is real, not rote.
How do we do that?
Let’s choose today to turn off the autopilot and take control of our thoughts and actions. Let’s become mindful of what we read, listen to, and think about. Let’s get real about who God is and what He says. Let’s let worship spring from a heart that knows Him instead of just following rules about it.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.
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Faye Bryant is an author, coach, and speaker who helps individuals escape the lies of the enemy, live into God’s truth, and build a better life by first feeling, dealing, and healing their way through a stuck future or an abused past, toward a deeper path of purpose, and into the unhackable life of their chosen legacy. Hers is a story of resurrection: from death to life!