Do you worship God with a pure heart, or do you just go through the motions of the Christian life? Attending church because your wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, parent, or child wants you to. Reading your Bible because you feel it is what you are supposed to do. You may even sing in the choir, or serve the church as a deacon, but if your service and actions are not the result of a heart broken and contrite before the Lord, one whose affections have changed from the world and self, to God, then you are no better than the Israelites in the time of Amos.
God called Amos from his shepherding duties in the field to prophesy against Israel. At this time, Israel had no desire to obey God’s commandments, nor worship Him from a pure heart. Instead of providing for the poor and widowed, they exploited them. Instead of honest and fair business practices, they rigged their scales in their favor, so they could make an extra few dollars with each purchase. Instead of processing their wheat like they should have, they sold the chaff, in order to make more money. Instead of worshipping God alone, they also sacrificed to other gods. It is no wonder God said to them:
“I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. ” (Am 5:21–24)
Amos’ prophesy was nothing new. Isaiah had prophesied the same before him:
“When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations— I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. ” (Is 1:12–17)
We find out in Psalm 51:16-17 that God’s desire is not for us to simple go through the motions. He wants us to worship Him with a heart that is broken and contrite. Our motives for worship must be pure and our heart must be truly repentant. God does not desire actions that look righteous to others; rather, He desires that our actions stem from a heart that is truly affectionate toward Him, one desiring to worship Him and Him alone. If we do otherwise, we are no better than the Israelites and we will be rejected by the Lord. Outward actions may fool the men around you, but they will not fool an all-knowing God.
After considering your life and actions you may be wondering if you are a Christian. If so, you might consider reading one of my earlier posts entitled: How Do You Know You are a Christian? You can do so by clicking here.