Have you ever noticed when a person’s words aren’t congruent with their actions? Or has anyone ever apologized to you, and you knew even though they spoke the words, they weren’t sorry? Jesus said, “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Matt 12:34)
When Jesus wrote the letter to the church in Ephesus, He was talking to them about their hearts. “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” (Rev. 2:2-4)
The Ephesians were doing all the right things, but they weren’t doing them out of love. “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7b)
“Even now, declares the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate” (Joel 2:12-13a). To rend the clothing (or put on an act) is an outward expression and doesn’t always ring true to what the heart is doing. The Word is calling for us to cry out and lacerate our hearts, with true repentance, removing the sin which holds us. He wants our TRUE repentance and wants us to turn from our ways and back to Him.
“Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” (Rev. 2:5a) The Lord wants us to turn to Him with all of our hearts. Just as He commanded us to love Him with all our hearts, all our minds and all our strength.