“These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” Matthew 15:8-9
A man and a woman had been married for fifty years, and the man was just not that talkative. His wife finally couldn’t hold it in any longer. She said, “Why don’t you ever tell me you love me? I have not heard those words since our wedding day.” He looked at her and said, “I told you I loved you fifty years ago and if I ever change my mind, I’ll let you know!”
All of us want to hear the words, “I love you” – especially from those who are the most important to us. The same is true of God. He delights in our praise of His Name, His character, and all that He has done for us. Praise is simply telling God that you love Him. We ought to enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise each and every day. Every new day that we are given the gift of life should begin and end with praise for our Lord and Savior…not because we have to, but because we get to profess our love and devotion to Him. What a privilege!
But, according to Matthew 15:8, mere words are not enough. Have you ever had someone tell you they loved you, or that you were important to them, only to later find out by their actions that it was just lip service? We’ve all heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words,” and that is true. True love will be proclaimed not only in words, but also in deeds.
Matthew 15:8-9 warns of the person who offers empty, meaningless praise. How is such a person characterized? He is characterized as saying the right things, but having a heart that is far from God. In 1 Samuel 16:7 God says, “The Lord sees not as man sees. Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” God is not pleased by words alone. He cannot be tricked by a smooth tongue and flattering speech. God sees straight to the heart of who we are. He desires praise from our lips that is rooted in the truth of our deeds. Perfection is not required; but He is pleased by the praise of those who are earnestly seeking Him and are surrendered to Him completely.
Do you praise God each day? If so, is that praise in both word and deed, or are you guilty of offering lip service to the only One worthy of all of your praise?
God, thank You for the gift of praise. I desire to worship You in both word and deed. Please forgive me for the times I offer lip service instead of worship from a fully surrendered heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.