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Near but Far

If you think about it, words are easy. It’s easy to say we’ll follow after God - but much harder to take a step of faith into the unknown, and do it. It’s easy to call Jesus, ‘Lord’ - but much harder to really let Him be in control of our finances or our time. It’s easy to say that we’ll serve God, no matter what - but not so easy to serve when no-one sees what we’re doing. It’s easy to say we’ll live in unity with each other as Christians - but much harder to do when people don’t agree with us, or are a bit irritating.

The verse above, from Jeremiah, is painting a sad, but all too familiar picture of God’s people throughout time. Of course, there are times when our hearts are set after the Lord, and His blessing flows freely. But there can also be times when we give lip-service to Him in a way that doesn’t quite match what’s in our heart.

It’s as if we know what to say, and go through the motions - so, we’re near with our mouth - but our heart can be far away. It’s an illusion. It gives the impression of godliness, but has no spiritual foundation. We’re saying and doing the ‘right’ things, but our heart’s fixed on something else - something carnal or fleshly, something that provides selfish pleasure or gain, rather than blessing God.

The next verse in Jeremiah says, ‘But you, O Lord, know me; You see me, and test my heart toward you’. There's something wonderfully intimate about this verse, in how we’re reminded of God knowing us and seeing us, not in an observatory sense, but in an intimate sense. We’re known closely by Him and we’re seen by Him. We’re basically being reminded that we can’t pull the wool over God’s eyes, because He knows our hearts. He’s the first to see when our words don’t quite match what’s going on inside, and He wants to help bring us back on track.

Isn’t that our hearts desire too, that in those areas where our words sound as if we’re close to Him, but our hearts are distant, He would open our eyes? Then we can humble ourselves, and be restored to right relationship with Him again. This is simply another expression of healing in our lives. It’s bringing the disorder of our lips and our heart, which are out of sync, back into order. It’s having our heart set after the Lord, and having a determination to live for Him, without a need for recognition or reward.

Why not take some time today to ask the Lord to show you if there’s any disconnect between your words and your heart, so He can bring you back to that pure place of following Him in truth?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please forgive me for the times when the words that come out of my mouth don’t match what’s going on in my heart. My desire is to love and follow You with all that I am – in heart, mind, soul and strength. Please help me, Lord, to live this way and, when I stray away in my heart, please alert me, so I can return to You. Amen.
 

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Scripture

"You [God] are near in their mouth and far from their heart."
Jeremiah 12:2b, ESV

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Today's Writer

Andy Taylor is Director of Ellel Grange, UK National Director and is a member of the Executive Leadership of Ellel Ministries. He joined the team in 1991 and has served the Lord at Ellel Ministries centres in the UK, Australia and the USA. Andy is married to Cath and they have three boys.

Andy Taylor


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