There are few verses more relevant for the state of our churches and our lives than Matthew 15:8-9:
“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
The simple way to comment on this verse is to say that Christ has called us to be the church, and He has called us to do so on His terms. This is a good thing, for His terms are the best. But we continually try to improve on His terms. We aren’t satisfied with “speak to one another in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual songs”. We want to add the types of songs and instruments that are acceptable or not. We love “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved”, but we don’t like “Whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
We want to worship God the way we want to worship Him. But this is not worship of God at all. It is self worship, and it is evidence of our far away hearts.
God wants our hearts close to Him. He wants us in His hands and under His wings, for that is the safest place to be. In our attempts to be morally right, we are running away from God. Like the older son of the prodigal, we think that our deeds warrant reward. But God calls us to rest in Him and find His ways sufficient for us.
They are sufficient. I pray that I always find them to be so.