“Just do what I say, never mind what I do!” my dad would insist when the subject of smoking came up. Then he would tell me how bad it was for kids to smoke, usually while he had a cigarette hanging from his lip.
In today’s Gospel Jesus confronts people who claim to be children of “one Father—even God.” Jesus tells them their real father is the devil. Their thoughts and their attitudes betray their true intent. Jesus had them figured out. The Lord has us figured out as well. We cannot hide our thoughts or our actions from God. For God, intent is everything. What we intend from our heart of hearts matters most to him.
Saying we love the Lord or saying we love our neighbor means nothing if the intent of our heart is to do harm. Going to church every Sunday does not make you God’s child—just like going to McDonald’s every week does not make you a hamburger. Praying does not make you God’s child. People from every religion pray. What makes us God’s children is our desire to do his works and follow his commands.
Prayer: Lord, help my thoughts and actions match my words. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Randy Conley,
Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Faith, NC.