Growing up my family went to church “religiously” (isn’t it funny how we use of that word?), I can still remember disliking church. It was boring and long—filled with people whom I didn’t know and who looked, well... too serious.

One Sunday, my grandmother asked me, “Eddie, do you like church?” Exactly how was I going to answer that since I didn’t quite know the answer yet? She continued, unaffected by my pause, “I sure hope so, because this is what heaven is going to be like – church, eternally.”

I’m guessing I had a pretty typical reaction to this for a nine-year-old boy, thinking, “If heaven is like an eternal church service, I’m not sure I really want to go there?”

I’m much older now, at least physically, so, I’ve been doing some thinking. Is it possible to do the very things that please God, yet be so far from the spirit of its intention, that we miss its purpose completely?

Lately, the more and more I read God’s Word, I keep finding some places where God appears to be saying, “I know you think you’re doing the right things, even things I’ve told you to do, but... you’re missing the point altogether.” It’s as if we are doing the right “things,” but our hearts, the very things God actually wants, are essentially somewhere else.

The LORD says, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on mere human rules they have been taught." — Isaiah 19:13        

Time and again, God says, “I don’t want your sacrifices. I don’t want your religious festivals. In fact, I’m beginning to detest them. What I want is your heart.” In other words God says, I don’t want your “religion”—your going through the motions to please me—I want a passionate, thirsty heart longing for me. It’s as if He is saying, “If your heart is not in it, I don’t want it.”

It’s not your religion God wants, it’s Your heart that he’s interested in!. Think about this as you go about your day and consider this question: Does God have my heart, or just my “religious” obedience? Maybe you need to stop doing some things in order to make sure you are doing the right things for the right reasons. 


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