it’s an issue of the heart. it’s not what you put into you. it’s not the traditions, the externals, the legalistic rituals that poison you. it’s your heart. it’s what’s already in there. sin is so much more than what you do. what you do flows from the sin that’s in us already. it’s deep and cancerous. it requires spiritual surgery.
that’s why we depend on the work of jesus. that’s why we need the holy spirit.
now, the counterpart to this is that it still matters what you put into yourself. your religious actions and practices don’t make you right before god. your faith in jesus makes us righteous and clean. but what we do affects our hearts. and jesus is aiming at the heart.
he wants our hearts.
once we have established that he cares about our hearts more than our actions, it leads us to the externals. why?
our actions affect our hearts. our relationship with him.
our input affects our output.
if you don’t meditate on the word of god, you won’t know god’s voice in your heart. if you don’t surround yourself with community, you won’t experience god’s love for you through the local church and his bride. if you don’t worship the lord, you won’t remember and have the faithfulness and peace of the lord resonating from deep inside you and overflowing into praise. these things don’t save us. but these things do affect us.
this is the difference between traditions and disciplines. traditions keep god at a distance and trick us into thinking we can save ourselves.
disciplines come from loving the lord and doing whatever we can to know him more and more, knowing deep down that what we do with our bodies and our lives deeply affects our hearts and relationships with him.
and as we know deeper and deeper. as we experience him more and more. our lives are radiant. our actions are different. a transformed heart leads to a transformed life. your behaviors flow out of a deep reverence and love for your father.
you read because you love. you love because you read. you worship because you know his joy. you know his joy because you worship.
it’s a beautiful cycle. the love for the lord inspires a longing and desire for more of him. and our lives change and flow out of that. this is following christ. this is picking up our crosses. this is true love!