No Lip Service

Read This Week: Mark 7

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” – Mark 7:5-8 NIV

No one among us has ever not been guilty of our words being more prominent about something than our actions. No one is immune to talking more about what we are going to do than actually doing it. There is not a person on the planet earth, no matter how pure or well-meaning they are, that has not put a greater emphasis on what they say or think than they do their initiative and application. This practice is especially true in our life with God and our service to Him. We have all been guilty of paying lip service to our worship and spiritual walk or making insincere declarations that we supposedly believe or value.

But just because we are prone to lip service instead of action in our walks does not mean we should not try to live differently. We should call upon the Holy Spirit and immerse ourselves in the word of God to be doers and not merely talkers. We should ask God to help us daily to put away our pride and self-reliance and submit to His will of genuine worship. This posture and attitude are what Jesus was admonishing the Pharisees for in Mark 7. He told them that they were hypocrites and cared more about tradition and paying lip service to their religious rules than worshipping and serving the Lord. Verses 6-7 says:

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.

Jesus communicated to them and us that you can check all the boxes in your religion, talk a big game about ceremony and tradition, and still not have a genuine relationship with God. The Pharisees thought they were holy because they followed the law and avoided violating religious rules. But Christ taught that a person who talks about and seems to obey all the regulations can still not be a genuine follower.

We face the same dilemma and conflict between man’s tradition and God’s truth. We must rely upon the power of the Spirit to value the living Word of God more than our religious heritage and man-made constructs that do not hold power. We have to be aware and vigilant that our thinking and ideas about worship, devotion, and the body of Christ do not supersede eternal truth. Jesus told them in verse 8:

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.

The outward appearances of holiness and the rhetoric of spirituality can have little connection to the inner person. If our hearts are not sincere and devoted to Jesus, we are simply talking about a life with God instead of being about it. If we pursue the heart of the Savior regularly and His purposes, then our lives will be actionable and sustainable instead of simply being lip service to our faith. The world will observe what is on the outside, see the evidence of what is on the inside, and be drawn to its authenticity.

5 Comments

  1. Heidi on January 7, 2022 at 10:42 am

    This song is so beautiful. This is where it all begins, having a desire to see what is on God’s Heart, giving your whole heart to Him first, and being willing to listen to what He is saying. Guarding your heart is so important as we seek His will not your own. Then doing what He wants you to do like Jason said with no lip service.

    This is my desire to honor you
    Lord, with all my heart I worship you
    All I have within me I give You praise
    All that I adore is in you

    Lord, I give you my heart
    I give you my soul
    I live for you alone
    Every breath that I take
    Every moment I’m awake
    Lord have Your way in me

    Lord, I give you my heart
    I give you my soul
    I live for you alone
    Every breath that I take
    Every moment I’m awake
    Lord have Your way in me

    This is my desire to honor you
    Lord, with all my heart I worship you
    All I have within me I give You praise
    All that I adore is in you

    Lord, I give you my heart
    I give you my soul
    I live for you alone
    Every breath that I take
    Every moment I’m awake
    Lord have Your way in me

    Lord, I give you my heart
    I give you my soul
    I live for you alone
    Every breath that I take
    Every moment I’m awake
    Lord have Your way in me

    Lord, I give you my heart
    I give you my soul
    I live for you alone
    Every breath that I take
    Every moment I’m awake
    Lord have Your way in me

    Lord, I give you my heart
    I give you my soul
    I live for you alone
    Every breath that I take
    Every moment I’m awake
    Lord have Your way in me

    • Jason on January 14, 2022 at 1:50 pm

      This is wonderful, Heidi. Thank you for the encouragement and challenge and for posting these lyrics. I love that song and it meant so much to me during a formative time in my Christian life. My prayer for all of us is that these words will be our anthem:

      Lord, I give you my heart
      I give you my soul
      I live for you alone
      Every breath that I take
      Every moment I’m awake
      Lord have Your way in me

  2. Kathy on January 8, 2022 at 11:42 am

    This is what I got from Mark 7. It is possible to have the image of being religious or spiritual, but actually be far from Me. You can attend church, read your bible, pray, do ministry, and talk to others about Jesus, but your heart can be far from Me. Not everything in the Christian life is a matter of right or wrong; many things are simple matters of your conscience before Me.

    What comes out of you can defile and reveal that you have an unclean heart. You don’t want this to happen. You are defiled from the inside out, and not the outside in. I can give you a clean heart. Your outward act of sin is usually from an inward act of choice. Jesus does things well.

    The more you draw near to Him, studying the word, doing ministry, and you do it with the right heart, your heart will not be far from Me. This requires true repentance and you turning away from sin and making better choices. It requires obedience. I can renew a right spirit in you.

    What this said to me is I need to guard against what I am putting in my mind. If I fill my mind with things of God, He will create in me a clean heart, and he will renew a right spirit within me.

  3. Jeri Centers on January 10, 2022 at 4:03 pm

    God gave me this word from Mark 7 verse 20:

    One, that is all there has ever been,
    That is all there will ever be.

    You may think that it is you
    But you know that’s it is not me

    We all live in denial
    That we are all the same
    And when we get defiled
    It is us, that we should blame

    Our eyes are looking out
    We find them seldom looking in
    Asking what is life about

    In righteousness and sin
    You and I are a simple part
    Of the Greater One, Creator

    Hopefully, we will learn to love Him
    And become something even Greater.

    What that means to me is when we get defiled, we say it’s us. But it’s what we are taking in from others, and we don’t look to Him to know the truth. So keep out the negative. And only let in the truth and love of Jesus.

  4. Alma on January 13, 2022 at 1:30 pm

    This week, God gave me a song from Mark 7 called “As We Come Together”:

    We come together today to worship you, worship you
    We come together today to worship you, our Heavenly Father.

    Opening our hearts for your wisdom to help those in need
    Always willing to be ready when You need us to help in many ways.

    He will guide and protect our hearts to listen obey his ways
    His way is the one and only way.

    Hallelujah, hallelujah, we come together today to worship you, worship you
    We come together today to worship you, our Heavenly Father. Amen.

    Our Lord loves when we worship Him. A great way to start the day is to worship Him and always be ready when Jesus needs you. Because you don’t want to miss what his plans are for you.

Leave a Comment