It was the first time I had met someone who went to church out of guilt not out of faith.
Reference: v.8 “‘These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’” (NIV Bible)
Explore: I grew up in a small country town. None of my friends went to church and I grew up thinking the only young Christians in the area were related to me. When I went to high school I met a new friend. One weekend we were trying to organise a time to catch up. When I referred to Saturday night my new friend mentioned that she would have to go to church for an hour during the evening. While she seemed embarrassed that we had to work around this hour interruption, I was over the moon that someone else my age went to church. I thought I had discovered my Christian soul mate and that our love of Jesus would make us life long friends (Ok, so I took it a little far!). However as I got to know my friend and witness the lifestyle of her whole family I was totally perplexed. While they attended church for one hour each week it seemed that the rest of their life had nothing to do with the church or being Christian. It was the first time I had met someone who went to church out of guilt not out of faith.
And yet in the Bible it seems that Jesus was well aware of people who attended all the right rituals and yet kept their hearts distant from God.
Application: Going to church is an essential part of our expression of faith. However our faith is not bound by the four walls of some religious building. To have true faith we must live to worship God every day throughout our whole lives. We can not think that just by attending church we have ticked the faith box for the week and we can then go off and do whatever we like. If we allow God into our hearts then every decision, every emotion and every action will be a part of our expression of faith.
Prayer: Lord, you desire to know us intimate. May we open our hearts to you today. Amen.
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This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.