Can Our Obedience Lead us Away from Jesus?
In Jeremiah 31:33 God says, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Our actions reveal our hearts. It is when our hearts are changed that we get closer to God. It may take time, but what we think, believe, and feel will come out in our lifestyle.
What happens when our heart is far from God but we try to force ourselves to do good works?
There are many ways that we can try to cover over our defiant hearts with actions that seem ‘good.’ But eventually the sin will come out. Trying to cover our sinful heart and be good through our own actions is still rebellious. We can look mature in Christ by play acting, but true maturity occurs when our hearts are transformed to love God and our actions toward others are motivated by love, grace, and truth.
Our efforts create a false maturity, and trusting in ourselves rather than the grace of Christ leads us away from him.
Here are some ways we often try to cover our sinful hearts:
1. Doing "good" actions in front of others.
We can go to church, serve consistently, pray, dress well, act humble, and anything else in the long list of what makes a “good” Christian. We are very good at looking good even when our heart is far from God.
2. Confusing the importance of knowing Biblical terms with showing Biblical love for others.
Paul says, "knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." If we depend on our knowledge of the Bible and other Christian things, and can quickly offer good advice for others, then we could be puffing ourselves up to look more mature than we are.
3. Hiding and lying if we are caught.
If our heart is far from God, we naturally hide, just as Adam and Eve did after they sinned. We hide from God and others. And if it seems like someone is getting close to exposing our heart, we often lie. We believe the lie that it is better to look good than to truly be changed by the only one who is good.
In 2 Corinthians 5:16 Paul writes, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh.” What makes us close to Christ is not obligatory obedience, but living as the new creation that God made us through Christ. We change by Jesus transforming our heart, not by acting like a good Christian. Let’s be who we are in Christ and see what the Lord does in us and through us.