Do as I Say…

Funny how this seeking for a higher meaning works, just when you think you’ve got something figured out, your turn your perspective a fraction of a degree, and suddenly it’s a whole new landscape.  There are certain verses that seem to return again and again, to show you that what you thought you knew was, in reality, only a small sampling of a greater truth, a greater equation, and that’s why I’ve landed back on Isaiah 29:13, which states, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me,”  It’s not just about being estranged from God, but also about duplicity; about our persistent habit of commingling words and actions, our false logic of substitution in which we assume our words and actions are interchangeable, and our expectation that others do what we cannot ourselves do.

We can say all the right things in flowery prose and elegant verse. We can talk our fool heads off about what is right, what is fair, what we think others should do, or be willing to do. We can be as socially acceptable and politically correct as the best little soldier out there, but the true test of where we live is in the heart, and while we can say anything, and oft times we actually do, our actions are the reflection of our thoughts and beliefs. The heart is where action resides. If we say we are against bullying, but bully others in order to prove they are bullies, then we become what we call, we use our lips to prove our “rightness” while showing what lives in our hearts: a bully. We can talk of peace and cooperation, we can take others to task for what they say or don’t say, but if our actions don’t back up our lips, we are nothing but liars, hypocrites.  We can talk a big game, but when it comes right down to it, our hearts reveal our true intent, our true thoughts and feelings, our true core beliefs, and how we act speaks to what is in our hearts.

Words and actions are not the same; they do not bear the same weight. While words can be illuminating, clarifying, and insightful, they can also be deceiving, misguided and false. Actions on the other hand, are like a mirror; they merely reveal and reflect who we are in our heart of hearts.

“Do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.” (Matthew 6:5)

~SLM

What Fills the Heart

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Isaiah 29:13 which states, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me,” and since it’s Valentine’s Day, the day we all like to give our hearts away, I thought I’d share my ponderings. So, just what exactly is a “far away” heart, what does it mean?  It means not near, estranged and lacking in closeness, distant. When we are distant from someone, we do not hear them, we do not feel them, and we do not see them.

The Message translates this verse like this: “These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their hearts aren’t in it. Because they act like they’re worshiping me but don’t mean it,” and goes on to translate verse 14 as, “I’m going to step in and shock them awake, astonish them, stand them on their ears. The wise ones who had it all figured out will be exposed as fools. The smart people who thought they knew everything will turn out to know nothing.” This verse is so fascinating to me, because it seems to speak on so many levels. It’s about what fills our hearts and the actions that stem from our beliefs. It’s also about hypocrisy, about saying one thing while doing another. It’s about arrogance and pride and bearing false witness.

A far away heart means being unaware of what is in your heart, not knowing what you accept as true or why you accept it, not loving others as you would be loved, and trusting in God, but not trusting Him. Others may not know what is truly in our hearts, but God knows, and he can tell if we are near or far, if our hearts are filled with his love or something else entirely. One thing I know for sure is this: Whether we realize it or not, we live where our hearts are, holding in them all that we value, all that we hope for, all that is dear to us, and no matter what our lips say, or what we declare, our actions are always, always in accordance with our true beliefs, with what fills the heart.

May your heart always be close to God’s and filled with His love today and always…

~SLM