"I wish that someone among you would shut the Temple doors so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not please with you," says the LORD Almighty, "and I will not accept your offerings."
Man..what would happen if the Lord showed up at Vineyard ReCovery tomorrow night, or at your church and said, "Lock the doors....I'm shutting you down." What if God said that our worship and our offerings made him sick and he was not going to accept them? I think we forget that everything that transpires in the Kingdom of God (especially when man is involved), is suppose to come from the heart.
God doesn't look at the outward act or reverence and accept it because someone said, "Amen" or put $5.00 in the offering plate. He looks to the heart to see the motive and reason of why we do what we do. Is it to appease him? Do we carry on this behavior because we are trying to hide sin from him? Is it because we think we can earn our way into his good graces by "doing" a bunch of religious stuff?
What if every time we entered into a corporate gathering of believers, the true intentions and motives of our heart suddenly appeared on our foreheads? That others around us could see the real reason we go to church....sing in the choir......lead Sunday school....would we even return to church ever again?
I know that this is a drastic example of the verse in Malachi, but the truth of the matter remains that our heart and the state of it in the eyes of God is always the mirror that we should see ourselves in.
Verse 12 reads: But you dishonor my name with you actions by bringing contemptible food, you are saying, "it's all right to defile the Lord's table."
How many attend church each Sunday with sexual sin in their lives and hearts? How many sit and sing "Victory in Jesus" and yet all the while they live a lifestyle that is outside the will of God?
God's desire is to mature and grow us in Him. To reveal and remove the bad character defects from our lives so that we can burn with love for Him and the call He has placed on each of us to "Go into the world." Funny part in that statement is that most think "the world" is the darkest, most distant place on the planet. In truth, the "go into the world" could be right there on your street, or in your neighborhood. Sharing our story with neighbors and people we meet.
Maybe the reason life is hard and our prayers don't seem to be answered is that we have removed ourselves from under the grace of God because of the sin we harbor. God help us.
Yet even with all of this, Jesus still responds by saying, "Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." He is still willing to forgive, empower and restore those who turn from their sin. Today is a good day.
Don't wait until God locks the doors of your church and says, "I'll think I'll take it back since you aren't going to use it!
God on you....