While critiques offered by spiritual leaders may have some validity—I once heard a pastor use Gandhi as a witness against hypocrisy in the church—I believe gurus and other philosophers are similar to giraffes.
These long-necked majestic creatures scan the savannah for predators. When a lion is spotted, giraffes run away, each looking after themselves with no aid to others in the herd.
In this verse, the Lord speaks to Israel through the prophet Isaiah: These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. God reveals that He hears their empty words of praise and sees their wandering hearts. But God was not content with their superficiality. He desired true fellowship. He wanted Israel to worship Him not because they had to but because they loved Him.
God desires the same from us. He wants us to move beyond going through the motions to really loving Him. He wants our religious practices to blossom into a dynamic relationship with Him.
The quest begins at the foot of the cross and moves to the empty tomb. On the cross where Jesus died, God laid our sins on Him and granted us His righteousness. He was buried in a tomb for three days and nights, then rose from the dead—conquering sin and death once and for all.
Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection on our behalf, we can conquer our guilt with gratitude and our laissez-faire attitude with love for the Lord. But it is a daily journey we must make because we are prone to wander.
Read the Bible and ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you. God will confront you with your sin, but He will also comfort you with His forgiveness and His unending and overflowing love for you.
(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)
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