"And he (Amaziah) did what was right in the sight of The Lord, but not with a loyal heart."
This verse struck me and reminded me again how important the state of our heart is to God. He doesn't just look at our actions, but he looks at our hearts.
Our pastor just finished up a sermon series on "Following Jesus". In one of the sermons he talked about following Jesus, not out of duty or habit, but out of love for Him. What a powerful truth to live by.
This is something that God has impressed on our hearts again and again over the years. We have been sure to teach this truth to our children. When we have a situation that needs discipline, and as we go through the steps of repentance, we are sure to bring in the principle that we obey God because we love Him...not out of duty, but out of devotion. If we can get this into our children's hearts....our hearts....we believe obeying God will be a joy rather than a list of do's and dont's.
As followers of Jesus it can be so easy to get caught up in all the "rules" that have been put there, whether through principles of the Bible, or man's teachings. It can be so easy to get caught up in the action rather than the actual state of our hearts. Don't get me wrong....I know there are absolutes in the Bible....laws that God has put there that we need to live by....but if we are just doing them to do "right" and our hearts are not loyal...what good is this?
Let's say you give your child and instruction like, "Please go clean the bathrooms." It doesn't take long to see what the state of their heart is like, does it? They may say "Yes Ma'am" with a smile and a spring in their step or they may say "Yes Ma'am" with a pout on their face and body language that is less than energetic! They will still clean the bathroom....they still obey you and do what is right...but which reaction makes your heart happy?
And I believe so it is with God. Our Christian walk should not be about rules and how far we can bend the rules....but rather how can we please the heart of God. How can we show our love and loyalty for Him with a spring in our step, a smile on our face and a "Yes Sir" on our lips? How can we show Him that we obey Him out of love for Him rather than just duty?
So as you live your life "for God", ask yourself, "Is my heart loyal to God or am I just going through the motions?" I find that true joy comes when I obey God out of love for Him and a loyal heart rather than duty. Sure I can go through the motions....but what kind of child would I be? One that pleases the heart of God? I want to please Him....don't you?