The Pharisees fooled the people but they could not fool God. They were focused on all their outward appearance and all of their laws and regulations, but Jesus rebuked them because they were being hypocrites.
Intimacy with God can only happen when we are true and honest with ourselves and true and honest with God and with others for God looks at our heart and the motives of our heart.
Romans 2:28-29 (New Living Translation)
28 For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. 29 No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.
God knows that we cannot do anything apart from Him, only the Holy Spirit can change our heart, our motives and our priorities but He is not going to take away our free will. It is up to us to choose and to invite the Holy Spirit to do the work in our heart that needs to be done, so we will not be able to boast about it.
Intimacy with God should be our foundation, our motive and our primary desire. All was perfect in God’s original plan and that is what God created us for because He wanted intimacy with us. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve didn’t have to ask God for anything, they were not lacking anything, all that was on their heart was to spend time with God in the cool of the evening until the fall, then sin came in and distracted their attention from being God focused to being sin focused and emotion focused, and they began to focus on their needs and pains caused by sin.
The Devil wanted to separate Adam and Eve from God and from each other. It was a ploy of the Devil to take their focus off of God and onto whatever else could steal their intimacy with God because this way he could disempower them. Jesus said that the only commandment that was needed was the one that covered all other commandments:
Matthew 22:37-39 (The Living Translation)
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”
Today the Devil is being really successful in keeping us from intimacy with God by keeping us so busy that we actually miss God in the process because we do not put Him on the throne of our heart.
Apart from busyness, we can block intimacy with God by all sorts of things that we set up in our heart. Other things can block us. As children from Adam, it is human nature to be proud, to be self-centered, to be ambitious, to be independent, to be impatient, to be envious or jealous, to be greedy, to feel sorry for ourselves…etc. All these natural attitudes make us the god of our heart.
Instead of putting God, the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) on the throne of our heart, we have put the unholy trinity on the throne of our heart: me, myself and I!
But Jesus came to adopt us as the children of the living God. He has given us the freedom to choose and He has also given us the solution, the power of the Holy Spirit to help us if we choose to give our lives to Him instead of the Devil.
We deceive ourselves if we think that we have any power of our own. We have been created to be mastered. Our choice is: do we want to be mastered by love (led by the Holy Spirit) or by fear, worry, guilt and shame (controlled by the Devil and his demons)?
James 4:8 (New Living Translation)
8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you… 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor. (My emphasis)
God wants intimacy with us as our foundation. This is more important to Him than for us to serve others, and therefore should be the most important foundation in our heart too.
I pray that we may choose to put our priorities in seeking God intimately first and coming to know Him more deeply and affectionately. I pray that Jesus will become our best friend and through Him come to know our Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit our counselor, our comforter and the Power of God at work in our lives.
- What makes one a true “Jew”, or a true believer?
- How can we come to love God, truly from the heart?
- What is our Father God’s deepest desire for us?