“Not all people who sound religious are really godly.  They may refer to me as ‘Lord’; but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Mark 7:21

In this verse, Jesus challenges folks at the very center of their faith.  Anyone can “act” religious or say spiritual things, but have a void in their hearts towards developing a deep and abiding relationship with God Almighty.  Intimacy with God means that our thoughts, actions, prayers, and attitudes are in alignment with His plan and purpose for our lives.

God wants us to deepen our relationship with Him.  He desires to abide with us every second of every day.  To really know Him is to love Him.  To love Him is to trust and obey His commands.

A person who doesn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus may be able to say all the right things, but he/she lacks the faith to live a Christ-centered life.  The writers of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) emphasize Christ’s teachings as they relate to hypocrisy.  In Matthew Chapter 23 we read about the hypocrisy associated with the Pharisees and Sadducees.  In Mark 3 we see Christ challenging other religious-minded folks about their hypocrisy and “hard-heartedness” regarding the healing of the sick during the Sabbath.

Continually Christ reminds us that “Our walk should match our talk”.  An engraved stone on a cathedral wall inside the Lubeck Cathedral in Germany bears these soul-searching words:

Thus speaketh Christ our Lord to us:

Ye call Me Master and obey me not,
Ye call Me light and see me not,
Ye call Me way and follow me not
Ye call Me life and desire me not,
Ye call Me wise and acknowledge me not,
Ye call Me fair and love me not,
Ye call Me rich and ask me not,
Ye call Me eternal and seek me not,
Ye call Me gracious and trust me not,
Ye call Me noble and serve me not,
Ye call Me mighty and honor me not,
Ye call Me just and fear me not,
If I condemn you, blame me not.

The more we learn about what God has done for us, the more we can worship and adore Him.  In addition, our motives will come from a pure heart, not from selfish ambition, guilt, or some church tradition.  God is looking for genuine believers whose walk matches their talk.  Our walk comes from knowing God intimately.

Let’s not say we love and then show disrespect to others. Let’s not say we care and then not show acts of kindness. Let’s not preach tolerance and then lack patience when dealing with complicated issues Let’s not judge unless we want to be judged.

Let’s work to keep His word central to our problem-solving and our relationships.

Personal Application:

Contemplate some of God’s traits found in these verses:

The list goes on.  To better understand His qualities and for a helpful guide click here.  When in need you can go to it and feel the warm embrace of His word touch your soul.  As long as you have a smart phone you can link to these verses anytime.

Jim Grassi, D. Min.