sin, grace, and salvation

Empty Promises – avoiding hypocrisy through action

To say that Kemper gets into everything would be an understatement. Last week after supper before I had a chance to clean up the leftovers of the taco bar, he reached up to scavenge whatever crumbs he could find. Thankfully, daddy caught his little hands before he shoved a handful of fresh jalapenos in his mouth. The week before at the gas station, he attempted to fill up his own 32 ounce fountain Mountain Dew in only a few seconds as daddy turned to walk towards the counter. If it’s within his wing span, he will attempt to grab it, eat it, pull on it, or, at the very least, touch it. I suppose I should be happy that he’s a little explorer, but more often than not, his curiosity leads to a mess. This week, I’ve really been trying to focus on teaching Kemper not to mess with things without asking. Generally, this is how it goes:

Me: Kemper, don’t touch that.

Kemper: (Touching whatever has been outlawed.)

Me: I told you not to touch that.

Kemper: Sorry, sorry, sorry. (As he reaches to touch it again.)

Me: Kemper, DON’T TOUCH.

Kemper: Okay, mom. (Reaching once again.)

Needless to say, this is going to be a long process. Kemper knows exactly what it is that he’s not supposed to do, he apologizes for doing it, says okay agreeing not to do it, but then does it anyway.

This week I was reading in Isaiah; the prophet was warning Israel and Judah about God’s judgment for their disobedience. He says to the people “Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me” (Isaiah 1:13a). Isaiah is telling the people that their words or offerings mean nothing if not supported by action. The people of Israel and Judah were acting a little like a toddler saying sorry and agreeing not to touch something, but yet reaching for it anyway. It doesn’t matter how many times we say we will or will not do something, it’s our actions that show our hearts. God does not want empty promises or meaningless offerings. Our actions should reflect the motives of our heart. We need to examine our actions and our hearts. Is there something that we keep saying we’ll do: read our Bible each day, join a Bible study, keep a prayer journal, exercise to maintain the body God’s blessed us with? We know what we should do, and we plan to do it, yet we fail to follow through. I know I’m guilty. Our promises or intentions are meaningless until we do something about it. Or maybe, we are doing all the Christian things, but are just going through the motions; our hearts are not in the right place. We read our Bible, attend Bible studies, go to church, but it’s simply what we do. God sees the motives in our hearts, and he knows if our actions are sincere or empty. The Lord does not want meaningless offerings, he wants our hearts, our motives, and our actions. He sees all and knows all; there is no hiding from him. If we continue to be a toddler reaching for the thing we’ve been warned not to while apologizing and saying okay, we fail to honor God with our hearts and actions. Instead we must give God our hearts and our actions, allowing him to speak to us and show us what he wants us to do.


Father, I’m sorry for my meaningless offerings: “attempts” to please you with promises instead of actions or empty actions without the right motives in my heart. Lord, help me to be sincere and keep your will at the center of my motives and actions. Thank you for your unconditional love; help me to love more like you every day and to live for you in all that I do.

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