The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”
I am the proud owner of an iPhone. It really is an amazing device, and I use it very regularly throughout the day. When I’m overseas, though, I always turn the data off to prevent huge roaming charges. The iPhone, though, does, of course, have wifi, which means that if I can find free wifi I can still check my emails, my Facebook account and update my Twitter feed. My girlfriend got a bit bored of me constantly checking my phone to see if there was wifi, though, so she bought me a fantastic t-shirt which displays if there are wifi networks about. I have since discovered that it is advisable not to wear it to parties, however, since it seems to attract the party bore over. I know it’s uncharitable of me to talk that way, but there always seems to be at least one person at most parties with the ability to bore me to tears. Of course, being the polite kind of guy that I am, I always try to listen diligently and engage them in conversation – even if my heart is not in it, and I’d rather be chatting to an old friend who I’ve just noticed has walked into the room.
Sometimes we can adopt a very similar attitude towards God; we can play the role of the diligent Christian, going to church regularly, socializing with good Christians, doing lots of good deeds, but our heart really isn’t in it. Now, periods of doubt are not uncommon, and sometimes can even be helpful, but if we find that our faith becomes no more than an outward show for the benefit of those around us, then we risk running into problems. God, of course, can see what it really on our hearts. He knows if our ‘faith’ is just talk, and not something that we feel in our hearts. If we get into that position, then we run the risk of being no better than the hypocrites Jesus encounters in Mark 7, and he has harsh words for them.
Think about your faith today. Is it a genuine, heartfelt faith? Or has it become little more than an outward appearance, perhaps because all your friends are Christians. If you’re struggling, don’t worry because it happens to us all from time to time, but do talk to someone about it. Why not participate in our discussion forums? As a community we want to support one another, and we want to help you too. Don’t forget either that you can always pray. Even if you don’t feel like God is listening, he is; keep praying, and telling him what you’re feeling.