Which matters more?

Casey said “I love you so much, mom!” and gave her mother a big hug as she walked out the door.  She was headed to her boyfriend’s house, where they would be alone for the next 2 hours.  She was disobeying something her mother had specifically told her not to do.  So what did her words mean?

Jack passionately kissed his wife good-bye and said, “I love you, honey”,  before he walked out the door to meet his mistress for lunch.  What did his words mean?

“You are my best friend!  I am so thankful for you!” is what Marta heard in her ears…the day before Janet betrayed her deepest secret.  What did her words mean?

Which said love?  The words?  Or the actions?  The words are great—if they match the actions. If we truly love someone, we show it with our actions.

So how does this transfer to our spiritual life?  Thousands of people across America sing their hearts out, dance to the worship music, raise their hands, and feel “close to God” each week during Worship.  But if they are living like they want, giving no heed to God and His Word the rest of the week…are they really “close to God”?  The answer is no.  It is not possible to live in disobedience and still be close to God.  Is it possible that we are being fooled into thinking we are close to God?   Perhaps the music, the words, the raised hands are giving us a false sense of closeness.  Perhaps we are not really close at all.

This is not about judging the sin in the lives of others.  This is about common sense.  Just as a child cannot have a close relationship with his parents if he is living in rebellion to their rules and wishes, so it is impossible for anyone to have a close relationship with God if  he is  living in rebellion and disobedience to God’s commandments and desires.

And yet, if you had the opportunity to peek in worship centers across the country each week, you would see thousands of people raising their hands and “feeling” close to God.  Are some of these feelings genuine?  Of course.  Absolutely.   But if we are living in sin–according to the Bible’s definition and without conviction; without any effort to change–then our feelings are deceiving us.  How we feel when we worship is irrelevant to the truth.

It is sobering to think about and yet so important.   You see, our Sunday worship time should simply be an extension of the rest of our week.  Worship is so much more than one hour during the week.  It is about how we live our whole life.  May we live with a heart that longs to please God with every moment of every day and may we not be deceived by feelings that are oh, so fleeting.

John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.