Today's devotion from Proverbs 21.
A person's heart matters. What I mean to say is that the reason for action is important in assessing the action itself. Motives are significant. This simple fact causes me much frustration as a father. I want my children to genuinely get along, not avoid hitting one another because they fear being grounded. If they do quarrel, I want them to make up because they realize the error of their actions, not to apologize because I'm threatening them. I want them to have the right motivations.
It is possible to go through the procedure and acts of worship without having every truly worshipped. In fact, my journey toward writing these daily devotions began because I needed accountability. Too often I was tempted to simply skim the words of the Bible instead of truly interacting with the Word of God. You are my accountability.
The author of proverbs warns, "The sacrifice of the wicked person is detestable--how much more so when he brings it with ulterior motives!" (Proverbs 21:27, CSB) It is bad enough to go through the act of worship without truly giving praise to God as evidenced by living a life that is contrary to His desire and design. It is even worse to use the acts of worship as a means to your own ends.
What are your motives today? Are you doing right things to avoid trouble, or are you living out your faith in God?