“Say to all your people and your priests, ‘During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting? And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves?” Zachariah 7:5-6
We read above how the Jews were very religious – observing the holy festivals, devoutly fasting and mourning. Our first thoughts after reading this might be, “That was impressive. They were devoted to the Lord their God!” On the contrary, the prophet reprimanded them for fasting for selfish reasons!
We too can become religious. Our Christianity has gone sour. Our relationship with God is dead or on life support. Our religious activities have become self-serving and self-centered. We need to get heart right and return to Christ – to the relationship.
The apostle Paul understood the natural human tendency to be distracted from our devotion to Christ when he wrote the Christians in Corinth, “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3. We all default to being self-centered, and sometimes it is disguised with/by religious activity – fasting, prayer, Bible study, mission work, and Christian service.
Ask the Lord to show you your heart. Have you fallen into doing spiritual activities with selfish motives? Have your activities for the Lord become merely routine or self-serving? If so, do not despair or get down on yourself; instead ask Him for the grace to return to your simple and pure devotion to Christ.