“My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain.” –Ezekiel 33:31 (NIV)
Why is it patronizing to pay lip-service to someone? Most would say that it is insincere to the point of being insulting. For example, when we say “I love you” to someone, yet act towards that same person in a way that is certainly not befitting of love, then our profession of love towards that person can be called into question. If we truly did love that person, we would ensure that it is made tangible through our actions and attitudes. It is like having a computer send a message to you every morning saying that “I love you”. Since a computer cannot do anything to prove its love to you, the phrase becomes hollow and superficial. Likewise our love expressed in words is meaningless if it is not expressed in action as well, and it is this lack of demonstrated love which frustrates others.
Often we can be like that with God. Though we may listen to His Word and speak of His love, our hearts can be far away from Him. While we might claim that we love God and love those around us, perhaps they have become just words to us which have not been translated into action. But it is this duplicity which can harm our witness for Christ, and cause ourselves and others to wonder whether if our love for Him is real and genuine. Like computers who have been programmed to say “I love you” our verbal expressions of love are empty and absent of meaning if our behaviour does not show it. How then can we escape this contradiction? The only way is to completely surrender ourselves to Christ and live in obedience to Him. When we have allowed His Spirit to enter our lives and restore every area of our being, we will want to live in accordance with Him by His enabling. The best way to show our love for Christ is to pursue His righteousness always; humbly allowing Him to perfect His love in us so that no one will be able to question who reigns in our lives.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.