During the Jewish trial that led to the crucifixion of Christ we read this interesting verse:
"By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover." (John 18:28).
These religious leaders were greatly concerned to maintain their external purity while they were in the process of seeking the execution of the Son of God! They wanted to be able to participate in the sign of the coming Messiah (the Passover), but were blind to the very presence of the Messiah who had already come.
How easy this can happen. We concentrate on the superficial, external elements of faith while neglecting the primary issues of the heart. We can get caught up in the ceremony and the ritual of church and miss the internal transforming power of the Christ.
We are diligent to perform a weekly worship service but we pay little attention to Christ transforming our hearts in daily living.
We talk in spiritual "lingo" (ex. bless you my brother, praying for you my friend, etc . . .) and "look spiritual" to those around us, but we remain indifferent and unloving to those who are actually hurting around us.
We can smile and talk about loving one another from the pulpit, yet rip a brother apart with our pen or our words when we are outside the environs of the Church.
We can talk about the importance of putting God first in our lives but never even consider God's will in our decision making.
May God give us all the ability to put the focus on our own hearts, and avoid the trap of emphasizing the externals to the neglect of the weightier issues of life --- our own hearts.
In His Grace,