1/6/19 - Practical Piety

“Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?    Who may dwell in your holy hill?”   (Psalms 15:1)
Our reaction to this line of questioning tells a lot about our spirituality.  The answer of some may be those who know the most Bible; those who can quote the most verses; those who attend the most services; those who put the most in the offering plate; or those who are the best elders, deacons, preachers, or teachers.   
 Don’t get me wrong.  All of those things are very important and if you are not fully engaged in daily Bible study, prayer, attendance to all of the worship services, and active participation in the local congregation, now is the time to get started.
 Showing reverence for God still includes something else.  It is not the outward acts of worship that others see, but the hidden man of the heart that motivates to live for the Lord every single day.  We show piety (or reverence) by living in truth and integrity (verse 2), always speaking good (verse 3), loving good and not evil (verse 4) and by being considerate of the poor and needy (verse 5).  In other words, how we treat other people every day is just as vital as what we do in the pews.
 Sadly, I have observed some who make great claims to upholding the truth of God’s word who commit acts of wickedness, gossip about other people, have negative attitudes about everything, and treat other people unfairly.  This is the same kind of thing at which Jesus directed His most pointed criticism (Matthew 23) of the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees.
 When we come together to worship on the Lord’s Day, it is like stopping to fill up the gas tanks in our cars.  Our cars were not designed just to look good sitting at the gas station.  They are made to go.  The time for a fill-up is essential, but the purpose of the car is realized when it is out on the road.  So it is that our purpose is more than just to meet and greet.  We need to fill our spiritual tanks and then make piety real through exercising what we learn.
 “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).  Let’s make our piety practical.  Look for opportunities to do good, bless the lives of others, and show love just as God has shown His love to us.