The Spirit of True Devotion

Devotional Reading: The Spirit of True Devotion

What did Jesus Have Against the Pharisees?

Historically, rejection and oppression based on ethnicity, culture, religion, and socioeconomic status have existed since biblical times. Jesus continuously exposed the oppression of the Pharisees against ordinary people. The Pharisees felt their political and financial statuses made them superior to others.

“And they tie up burdens heavy and hard to bear and lay them on the shoulders of men, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.” –Matthew 23:4

“They Added Tradition To The Scriptures: The Pharisees added an enormous amount of traditional material that was passed down from one generation to the next.” blueletterbible.org. The Pharisees interpreted the scriptures according to their mindsets, yet they did not follow their manmade rules.

The Pharisees are a prime example of Israelites seeking to establish their own righteousness. They created manmade rules to control others and elevate themselves. Ordinary Jewish people could not enjoy serving God. Rituals create unnecessary burdens, are meaningless, and destroy the integrity of true worship.

Sadly, many believers feel that worshipping God is a burden. We have lowered our standards by living worldly and proclaiming at the same time that God is good. The issue is that today’s Christians are tired and weary of God’s standard of holiness, which they consider unrealistic and impossible to achieve. Their perception of God is skewed. They do not view God as holy and righteous but as one who is an unloving taskmaster with a list of too many “don’t do this.”

The similarity between the Pharisees and today’s church leaders is that they love money. But unlike the Pharisees who made additional rules to make lives harder, pastors are doing all they can to please their members [and keep their churches filled to capacity]. Many are not preaching about living righteously nor are their sermons focusing on Jesus and His Second Coming. The focus has changed to keeping people happy and if the truth is mentioned it is watered-down to keep the membership numbers stable and the money flowing in.

Recently, I watched an interview with Pastor TD Jakes who admitted if he preached from the Bible over 90% of his members would not understand because they lack knowledge of the Scriptures.

“Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 20:7

We have lost sight of the fact that God is Holy. The atmosphere of our homes and churches has become common and irreverent from our spoken words and the music, programs, and social media we eagerly watch. We attend or watch a virtual service weekly to hear a sermon or we choose the Scriptures of the Bible that are pleasing to our ears.

Biblical Israel’s Spiritual Condition: “The spirit of true devotion had been lost in tradition and ceremonialism, and the prophecies were interpreted at the dictate of proud, world-loving hearts.” E.G. White

Christianity [Spiritual Israel] has experienced a significant spiritual decline that is worse than biblical Israel. In the time of Moses, the Nation of Israel had complete knowledge of God’s laws, commands, and precepts which they rejected. As time progressed, God revealed to the prophet Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee… (Hosea 4:6). The knowledge deficit has created a misunderstanding of the purpose of living consecrated and holy lives.

The Dilemma in 2022: Either we lack knowledge or we have basic knowledge of only the Scriptures that keep us happy. “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4) is an example of not understanding the spiritual meaning of this scripture by thinking God will give us everything that we ask for.

God tells us, “I change not.” We can only have a relationship with Jesus Christ based on love, surrender, consecration, obedience, prayer, and study of the Scriptures. Our earthly life of true worship is preparing us to worship God forever in the New Heaven and New Earth.

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” –Joshua 24:15

There is no middle ground. We cannot choose or select parts of the Word of God [the Scriptures] and fit them into our lifestyles. Either we are all in as evidenced by consecrating our lives to Christ and dedicating meaningful time to worship God through prayer and studying the Scriptures for ourselves, or we will continue to do what is pleasing to our dictates and miss out on the heavenly mansions that Jesus promised us in John chapter 14, verses 1-3.

The Spirit of True Worship is the willingness to surrender all to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” –John 14:3-4

Prayer: God, we repent for doing things our way. Jesus, we desperately need You. Please reveal our areas of disobedience and Your plan and purpose for our lives. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of Jesus, Amen.

Author: steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

It takes courage, perseverance, faith, and trust to serve God in today's unstable world. Yet, we are never alone. Pray daily and pray often. Study the Bible. The Scriptures are a Love Letter from God to those who accept Jesus as their personal Savior. You will receive comfort, knowledge, and wisdom. God says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." Jeremiah 31:3. Be blessed in Jesus' name. Amen.

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