“These people honor Me with their lips,
but their heart is far from Me.
They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.”
“You have revoked God’s word because of your tradition.”
It’s easier to believe in the big miracles – the feeding of the 5000, walking on water. Those events seem far away from us today and not much accountability is needed to believe in them. It’s harder when things gets personal, and that is just what Jesus is doing in these statements when talking with the elders. His words can be a little hard to take in, if I am honest with myself… Do my traditions stand in the way of someone seeing Jesus?
Do people see Jesus or do they see my actions? Am I worshipping a doctrine or Jesus?
Jesus gets right to the heart of the matter – it is our motives. In this world full of opinions and contradictory messages, I always ask myself one question when trying to discern if someone’s actions and thoughts are true – what is their motive? Is it to show the love of God which allows people to draw near to Him, or is it self-serving and to prove a point? If it is done for our own benefit and not for Jesus, then it’s worthless. Jesus says it’s done in vain.
Always point back to Jesus.
No matter what situation we are in, whether having a conversation, an argument, or needing to make a tough decision, if we always point our conversation back to Jesus, it cannot easily be contested. Take the focus off us and more on Jesus, and Jesus will make Himself known.
Matthew 15:1-9 ~ Jesus questions the motives of the elders