Wisdom of History

Honoring God With Only Our Lips

Many people are hypocrites who honor God with their lips but their hearts are far from him. (Matthew 15:8; Isaiah 29:13). These hypocrites say they will do what Jesus commands, but they refuse to do it. (Matthew 21:28-31). Instead of being hypocrites, we need to abide in the love of Jesus by keeping his commandments. (John 15:10 KJV). Then we will bring forth much fruit and our joy will be complete. (John 15:5,11 KJV).

My 6-year old grandson is learning to read. Recently, he was reading a paragraph with difficult words such as “subsequently”.

I was amazed at how well he’s already reading. I praised him profusely, as grandfathers love to do.

He’s a very truthful child. Humbly, he confessed, “I don’t know what the words mean.”

I immediately thought of the verse: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Matthew 15:8; Isaiah 29:13).

So many times, people quote Bible verses. They mouth religious buzz words. They spout proverbs.

At first, I’m impressed by their memory. I’m amazed at their spirituality. I’m humbled by their piety.

But then, I listen carefully to their words. I see how they live their lives.

I realize they do not understand what they are saying. I perceive they do not mean what they are saying. (Isaiah 6:9; Matthew 13:13-14; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:37-40; Acts 28:26).

Furthermore, hypocrites are not honest the way my grandson is. (Matthew 18:13). They do not freely confess their need to learn. They are not eager to grow.

Instead, their hearts become hard and calloused. They do not humbly confess that they don’t know the meaning of what they are saying. They refuse to learn and grow. (Isaiah 6:10; Matthew 13:14-15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:38-40; Acts 28:26-27).

They become hearers of the word, but not doers of the word. (James 1:22-25).

They become hypocrites.

They become hypocrites who say they will do what Jesus commands, but who refuse to do it. (Matthew 21:28-31).

Instead of being hypocrites, we need to abide in the love of Jesus by keeping his commandments. (John 15:10 KJV).

By abiding in Jesus, we will bring forth much fruit. (John 15:5 KJV).

And, by abiding in Jesus, his joy will be in us and our joy will be complete. (John 15:11 KJV).

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For my thoughts about the importance of putting the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount into practice, please read my blogs “Building Houses on Rock: Mission Impossible?”, “Building Houses on Rock: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”, “Building Houses on Rock: Mercy and Forgiveness”, and “Building Houses on Sand: Specks and Planks”.