lips vs heart

Matthew 15:3-9
why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, ‘Honour your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” 6 he need not honour his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. 7  You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
8  “‘This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
The hypocrite places his own ideas above the commandments of God. Of course, he would never say that, so it is all passed off as service to God. The hypocrite doesn’t want to be seen to disobey so comes up with loopholes to get out of what God had commanded while still giving the impression of being holy. So the hypocrite in this example that Jesus mentions, fails to care for his parents because he has given everything that he would have given them to God instead. Jesus quotes Isaiah to describe these hypocrites - they honour God with their lips but not in their hearts. We might think that showing respect and honour to someone is about what we say, but we can say nice things about God but still remain rebels in our hearts.  

Am I a hypocrite? Is my heart preoccupied with myself while my lips talk about God? Do I do what I want to do but dress is up in God-talk to give the impression I’m following Jesus? Do I have a reason (or excuse!) for every area that I am failing to obey God?  Do I organise my life around me, despite claiming that God is my biggest priority?

What is the solution? It is no good to just to try harder to honour God “in my heart”. I can’t change my heart, my deepest desires control me. I need to recognise that, and, instead of trying to construct a respectable mask in front of it, I need to repent and ask the Holy Spirit to transform my heart. As we see our own hypocrisy but realise God’s great love for us despite that hypocrisy, the good news of his grace and mercy penetrate our hard hearts. Ask God to create a clean heart in you (Psalm 51).