“If I am a father, where is the honor due me?”
Comfort often breeds complacency. When the church is persecuted and threatened, it often grows in strength and number. But when believers are safe and secure, the result is often lukewarm Christianity. In North America, a majority of people claim to be spiritual. But a shrinking number of people are connected with a church, and fewer hold to their convictions.
Israel had become complacent. A generation after returning to the promised land, Israel had fallen into old habits. Their cities had been repaired and the temple rebuilt, but now Israel’s hearts were growing hard again. They were satisfied with going through the motions of religion. They brought defiled and diseased animals to the altar— offerings that they would not even consider bringing to human dignitaries!
Israel was complacent because they had lost sight of God’s character. They believed that a holy God could be satisfied with half-hearted devotion. Malachi warned the people that God was not pleased with lukewarm devotion and imperfect sacrifices.
Thankfully we have a priest who offers the perfect sacrifice on our behalf! Jesus offers himself as the complete, full sacrifice as payment for our sins. And in response we offer ourselves as offerings of gratitude to him. How are you offering your life in thanks for what God has done?
Father, forgive us when our devotion to you is lukewarm. Kindle a burning desire in our hearts to serve you with every part of our being! Amen.
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