“Then the Lord said, ‘Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.’” — Isaiah 29:13 (NASB95)
I think of a brother in faith as I type this devotion based on the text above because this verse reflects the heart of so many of the discussions we have had over the last several years. As we get older, we look introspectively into our lives and wonder where our hearts really are. We often talk about why our lives aren’t more Christlike after all these years. We lament the stupid and sinful things we say and do. We wonder whether we are really taking more steps backward than forward. Are our lives just made of lip service and rote traditions?
Friend, my answer for us this morning is NO! It can’t be true. If our lives were just lip service and rote traditions we wouldn’t be so bothered by our brokenness. We would outwardly be justifying our rote existence based on some false righteousness. The fact that we contemplate and worry about our condition proves that our hearts aspire to be nearer to our God.
Brother, my message today is that one thing has not changed in all the years we have known each other. No matter how badly we run this race, we are still running. We know what the blood of Jesus has done for us, and that keeps us moving. We are constantly calling for Him to rescue us from our brokenness, and He faithfully pulls us from the pit and stands us on our feet again. I want to thank you for being my brother in the faith. I want to thank you for being a blessing in my life. I want to thank you for staying by my side as we fight, scratch, and claw our way through this life with our focus on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
To all, may it never be said of any of us that we have turned this vibrant faith God has given us into rote tradition. If you’re afraid that is where you are, stop and stand at the foot of the cross. See Jesus bleeding, dying, bearing your sins so that they might be completely taken from you. Hear Him say, “It is finished!” and walk away knowing that your salvation is as certain as those words from Jesus’ mouth. Join my friend and me, and let’s start running again.