HABIT OR SINCERITY?

Psalm 50:7-15
7 “Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you: I am God, your God. 8 I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. 9 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens. 10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. 12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine and all that is in it. 13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? 14 Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most- High, 15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”

Revelation 2:4-5 “Yet I hold this against you. You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”

News flash people, God does not need our rituals or habits. So many people go to church and do religious activities out of habit. They pay tithes, attend all the functions, gather, and repeat. This is their pattern of worship and obedience. Their parents took them to church, they witnessed their behaviors, and now as adults, they mirror their behaviors. These things in and of themselves are not bad, they show that we decided at some point that we would follow Jesus, He called us and we repented of our sins and were born again. However, as time has passed and we no longer have that enthusiastic excitement about us. You know the kind: “you fall in love, and you cannot stop thinking about that person; you desire to spend as much time with them as possible, when you are away from them you feel it in your very core. You could spend hours with them and never tire of it. Love is grand! But what happens often as time goes by? Our enthusiasm dwindles, and that first love excitement fades.

When love fades or becomes so familiar that it loses that spark, we need to stop and rethink things. We need to have a heart-to-heart talk with ourselves. We need to examine our actions. God wants a relationship with us. He should be our “first love.” We need to keep our love for him fresh and new. How do we do this? How do we keep the staleness away from our relationship with him? We read and pray, and we talk with him. God’s word is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword. Everything we need is in His life-giving word. How do you keep your relationship with your husband going, because marriage good ones are hard work. They require constant attention, good communication, good listening ears, active participation, intimacy, and so on. Our relationship with the Lord can grow stale as well when we do not wholeheartedly seek Him; in prayer, in His word, in our decisions; when we do not sit with Him and gaze at His beauty when we do not remember that He alone has saved us, He alone keeps us, He alone gives us eternal life. God does not need what we do, He wants our hearts, our minds, and our souls fixed on Him, in constant loving communion and obedience, and relationship.

At the beginning of our walk with the Lord we often find ourselves with great excitement without knowledge, then after time goes by we may have knowledge without excitement. Both of these things are needed in our walk with the Lord. We need to do what the scriptures tell us and return to our first love. We need to rekindle that Holy fire we once felt. Yes, Give your tithe, Yes, assemble yourselves with other believers, yes, go to church functions, help, participate, etc. But do not let it be from habit, or because you were taught to do it. Do it out of love for the Lord, let him be your first love. Examine your heart so that your motives are pure before Him. Let that spark return to your heart and your actions when you return to that moment when He saved your wretched soul!

I too, need to remember why I do the things I do. I too, need my heart, my mind, and my soul fixed on Jesus. I too, want to feel that Holy Fire excitement when I think of all He has done. I too, need time in His word, allowing the food of heaven to nourish my soul. I too, need time in prayer or sitting quietly waiting on Him. Just like my marriage I need to be purposeful in the things I do to keep it fresh, exciting, loving, and close. I desire to know Him, I long to please Him, and I never want to take my salvation for granted in the sense that I do not feel the need to actively seek God every day. Maybe you will join me in praying this prayer.

Lord, forgive me for every time I did anything out of habit, or ritual. Forgive me for not seeking time alone with you more. Forgive me for any time I have ignored your loving nudge for me to sit down and be quiet and wait on you. Thank you for loving me regardless, thank you for chastizing me as needed, thank you that even though I may lose my way, my excitement, you NEVER feel that way about me. I love you Lord, and I desire to keep that Holy flame going until the day you return or call me home. It is in your name, Jesus, amen