Daily Devotions


Day 62

Our Lifestyle and the Worship of God

Text: Matthew 5 : 21 - 48

One of the problems that Jesus had to deal with was the fact that the scribes and Pharisees separated lifestyles from the worship of God. Jesus rejected this division of life and worship. Instead, He taught that how we live actually affects our very worship of God.

“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there remember that your brother has
something against you, leave your gift there
before the altar, and go your way. First, be
reconciled to your brother, and then come
and offer your gift.”
Matthew 5:23-24

If a brother offends a scribe or a Pharisee, he would just call him “Raca” (meaning, “Empty-headed”) or “Fool”. There is no consideration that this approach could be very wrong in the sight of God! The scribe can offer his gift at the altar of God and have a lifestyle that leaves much to be desired! Jesus taught differently. He insisted that reconciliation with a brother must first be effected before worship can be accepted by God. He was absolutely right. Let us take time to recall what the prophet Isaiah wrote on the subject of “Life and Worship”.

“Hear the word of the Lord,
You rulers of Sodom;
Give ear to the law of our God,
You people of Gomorrah:
To what purpose is the multitude
of your sacrifices to Me?
Says the Lord.

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings
from before My eyes,
Cease to do evil;
Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless;
Plead for the widow.”
Isaiah 1:10-11, 16-17

Jesus was not teaching something “new”. He was applying what He knew was clearly written in the Scriptures. One’s life must first be right with both God and man, and then that worship would be most acceptable to God. This was a doctrine that needed to be taught and emphasized. The scribes and Pharisees practised a form of religion that ignored the challenge of righteous living!


It seems strange to have Jesus teach that in worship, one must be most conscious of God. Surely, when one speaks of worshipping God, there would be that consciousness of Him? Ideally, this should be the case. In reality, this may not be the case at all!

The way Jesus spoke on this subject of how to interpret and apply the Law of God, it would appear that the scribes and Pharisees had a serious problem of being conscious of the Lord’s Presence.

1. There was scant respect for the Scriptures

Judging from the way the Law of God was manipulated and interpreted; there was little regard for the Lord.

2. There was scant respect for people

True religion should cause a person to have a tender regard for a fellow-human being. However, this did not seem to be the case where the scribes and Pharisees were concerned. They were not loath to curse and swear at people they despised.

3. There was no fear of God

If nothing else, people should have some fear in their hearts for God. He would be the Judge of all flesh one day. All would have to give an account of themselves before God one day! As far as the scribes and Pharisees were concerned, this was not their concern at all. They had no fear of God in their hearts.


To heighten awareness of the fact that God was going to be the Supreme Judge one day, Jesus gave an apt illustration.

“Agree with your adversary quickly,
while you are on the way with him,
lest your adversary deliver you to the
judge, the judge hand you over to the
officer, and you be thrown into prison.
Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no
means get out of there till you have
paid the last penny.”
Matthew 5:25-26

For some strange reason or other, the scribes and Pharisees appeared to have eradicated from their theology the fact that one day ALL would have to stand before God as the Supreme Judge. This illustration was aptly given. God as Judge would have to administer justice! The guilty would have to be sentenced and punished.

Were the scribes and Pharisees so confident of themselves that they were totally unafraid of standing before the Lord as Judge? This word would be as equally applicable to all would-be disciples of Jesus! There must always be the consciousness of God in life, in worship and in ministry! How marvelously Jesus dealt with controversial issues. He made use of them to point people to desire a right relationship with God!