They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules. Matthew 15:9
Every nation on the earth has thousands of rules to govern how the people are governed. Regardless of how much some may like or dislike rules, people desire them, because they want to always know exactly what they can and cannot do.
As good as some rules may be, they are not able to completely change the heart of a person. People seek to find ways around the rules, or break them anyway, expecting to not get caught.
The Pharisees had come to Jesus about the disciples not following a traditional rule made by man, trying to appear righteous. Jesus said that their worship of God was in vain, because all they were doing was following man-made rules.
Every week people all over the world go to a church to worship God. On the surface it appears that they are being good Christians in worshipping God. However, many are going only because that is what a ‘good’ Christian does.
In the same way many believers, and churches, come up with many rules on what a person must do or not do. There can be rules on dress, appearance, political beliefs, and more governing what they do or don’t do. The heart of the people is in looking good to others, not in pleasing and worshipping God. When the heart is like that, worship is worthless to God and a waste of time.
True worship of God will seek to please God in every area of one’s life in gratefulness for what Jesus has done for the believer. His life becomes one of worship of God, not just following some rules of man. It will never be about pleasing others or looking good, but about worship of God from the heart.
Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will seek to please God with all of your life; that you will follow God’s ways over man’s; and that you will worship God from your heart with all of your life.
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. Matthew 14:22
Leaders will sometimes send people forward to accomplish various tasks, without always fully revealing what is ahead. Usually they will give details of what a person is being sent into in order to allow them to be fully prepared for what is ahead.
Some people will enjoy walking into the unknown, while most will shy away from it. This is especially true if the unknown can represent danger.
After feeding over five thousand people, Jesus sent the disciples in a boat to the other side of the lake. He did this knowing a major storm was coming up and would appear to threaten their lives.
Going through life will often present various dangerous challenges. People often attempt to avoid as many of the dangerous challenges as possible. They want to be safe.
Believers are not exempt from these challenges. In reality, God will often send His people directly into them, just as Jesus did with the disciples. He sends them in to those challenges to see where their faith is.
Too often one’s faith is in self or what one can directly see or understand, not in God. When a person is sent by God into a dangerous situation, he often gets angry and blames God for it instead of trusting God to get him through the situation.
Every believer must know and understand that God is really in control of everything. Nothing happens, good or bad, without His permission. God works everything out for the good of those who believe Him.
In the end the disciples saw Jesus and Peter walk on water and the storm calmed. The danger had built their faith up in Jesus.
There will be times that God directs your path a certain way. As you walk that path dangers may arise threatening your life. At that moment you have a choice to make, will you cry out or run in fear, or will you call out to God trusting Him.
Knowing that you were sent on that path by God, you can trust He is in control of the situation and wants to do something in your life. It may be to reveal His power to you or to reveal it to others watching you. In this do not be afraid to go where God leads.
Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will hear God’s voice leading you; that you will obey God’s leading; and that you will trust God in every situation.