This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. (Jer. 7:3)

IT IS THE OVERFLOW OF THE HEART that God values. In this passage of Scripture, Jeremiah was called by God to speak against the pretentious worship being offered by the people. The days were good as the people were experiencing an apparent revival under King Josiah. However, it was merely a fad that did not result in solid convictions, and God knew it. The people were going through the motions—showing up on time, offering praises with their lips, but their hearts were far from their words. They would try to honor God with their attendance, but their minds were elsewhere. When it comes to worship, it is not the position of the body but the attitude of the heart that matters most. When it comes to “acts of worship” like prayer, singing praises, or Scripture reading, our minds need to be engaged, our attitudes reverent. It’s easy to go through the motions and check off another day or time we gave to God. But if we are not resolved on pleasing God, if we are not allowing the Holy Spirit any space in our lives, then all our efforts are in vain.

The good news is that God wants to bless those who believe in Him and trust Him with their lives not only by their words but by their actions and deeds as well. Jeremiah condemned the pretentious worship of God and exalted the sincere worship of God.

Whatever you are going through, be sincere with God and He will come through for you.

Scott Simmons is the author of the youth discipleship series iFollow (Wesleyan Publishing House) and the youth ministry movement director for The Wesleyan Church.