“No wonder this world is often turned off by followers of Jesus. Lord, keep us from becoming Pharisees.”
While traveling recently, I overheard two other conference speakers talking about a nearby church in the city where the conference was held.
Condescendingly, they laughed and joked at some of the things this church was doing. They talked openly and intellectually about this church’s shallowness in approach. “Can you believe it?” they shared.
Ironically enough, we have a God whose Word is clear about knowing the proud from afar. A God who wants nothing to do with the religious elite who think they’re “deep” and have it all figured out. A God who isn’t impressed with “look at us” as opposed to “them.”
In their educated depth, these speakers somehow failed to see the heart of God, and in this moment they were profoundly shallow.
Educated, yet fools.
Seasoned, yet infant Christians.
Truth is, I’ve said similar things myself.
No wonder this world is often turned off by followers of Jesus. Lord, keep us from becoming Pharisees.
Two things I pulled from this experience:
1. One of the speakers had just given one of the most brilliant, eloquent talks that I have ever heard.
Ever! After overhearing the conversation, I forgot most of what was so beautifully spoken.
2. Most of their conversation was about the style of worship at this nearby church.
In their eyes, traditional worship had more substance compared to the newer, shallower church in town. I’ve heard the exact same thing said by the new church in town talking about the traditional church and its empty rituals.
Heart matters. Style of worship doesn’t.
Just to be clear, worship and our styles of worship do matter, and they are important. But they don’t matter (at all) if our heart is in the wrong place (see Ps. 50:13–15, Hos. 6:6 and Isa. 1:11).
Adam Weber is the founder and lead pastor of Embrace—a church that has six campuses in South Dakota and Minnesota—and the author of Talking With God: What to Say When You Don’t Know How to Pray (WaterBrook, 2017). This article was originally published on AdamWeber.com.