In general, do you think people find it tempting to judge a person’s holiness or spirituality based on their physical attributes or the activities they take part in?
Attending church, reading your Bible, dressing in fine clothes, participating in ‘moral’ activities are all good attributes the Lord honors, but your actions are not enough to save you. These external qualities do not compare to what God is looking for in regard to your internal qualities. 1 Chronicles 28:9 tells us, “for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.”
The heart is the most vital organ in the body, circulating blood and life in a constant motion to one’s entire being. In the Scripture, the heart is also considered a human’s life-source, residing as the center of one’s emotions and sensibilities. The heart receives ample attention in the Word of God. A Biblically based heart can be hardened by God (Exodus 4:21), can be changed by God (1 Samuel 10:9), is searched and known by God (1 Chronicles 28:9), has eternity set within it (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and is the residence of the Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 1:22).
The condition of your heart is of the greatest concern to the Lord, because your heart exposes your struggle with sin for what it truly is. For example, not many people would consider themselves a murderer, but Jesus says it is not enough to simply avoid killing someone; you must also prevent anger and hatred from entering your heart. And although you may not consider yourself guilty of adultery, Jesus requires you to keep your hearts faithful from lusting in any form or fashion. He sees no dividing line between the actions of sin. Instead, He judges the motives behind the sin.
If you desire a deeper connection with the Lord, it is not enough for you to simply read His Word. If you find yourself reading the Scripture without the desire to understand Jesus, you will inevitably fall into the same trap as the Pharisees, and the Bible will become more of a book of RULES than a book of LOVE. As you turn to the living Word of God, pray for the desire to look deeper into the inner courts of your Savior, and allow His truth to saturate your heart, bringing forth genuine motives — honoring the Lord.