‘ I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’
When we are not dwelling in the shadow of the Almighty, we can easily be deceived into thinking that we are doing the right thing, and that God is pleased with us, when truly we are being led astray. All the ways of the Lord deal with the heart, why you do something more than what you do. You can do all the right things, but if you’re not doing it out of love and obedience to Him then you accomplish nothing.
You can go to church twice a week, you can lift your hands in worship and serve in all the ministries. You can know what the Bible says, but if your heart is far from the Lord then what are you truly doing other than offering worthless sacrifices? God desires righteousness and justice more than sacrifice (Pro. 21:3), He desires a changed heart more than an outward display of righteous behavior.
When I first began my walk with Christ, the Lord spoke to me as I was driving and said, ‘There’s nothing I can’t do with a broken and repentant heart’. It wasn’t until later in my walk that I understood what it meant: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise”. (Psa. 51:17). The Lord will not despise the one who’s heart breaks over their sin against Him, He will not refuse the one who mourns their sins and seeks to crucify their desires in exchange for His.
I didn’t understand the power of God at that time, I didn’t know that He is able to accomplish in me far more than I could imagine or think. I didn’t know God wanted my submission more than my acts of service, He wanted my heart, not my help. We must examine ourselves often, we must open our hearts to His scrutiny. Do we stand before God and others, proclaiming “Look at all that I do!”, or do we bow our eyes in reverence, saying “Lord, be merciful to me!”.
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams (1 Sam. 15:22b).