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Flattery Gets You Nowhere

Flattery is not communication; it is manipulation. We flatter people because we want something from them. It's bad enough to flatter people, but it's even worse to flatter God. "Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouth, and they lied to Him with their tongue; for their heart was not steadfast with Him, nor were they faithful in His covenant" (vv. 36,37).

How do we flatter God? First, when we praise Him but don't mean it. It is so easy to stand in church and sing songs of praise with our minds somewhere else and our hearts not in our singing. We are simply going through an empty ritual. We also flatter God when we make promises to Him that we don't intend to keep. We do this sometimes in our praying.

We flatter God a third way when we pray to Him but don't really seek His will. It's easy for us to go through routine prayers and make promises. "Dear Lord, today I'm going to witness," or, "Dear Lord, today I'm going to read my Bible," or, "Dear Lord, today I am not going to yield to that temptation." But in our hearts we have no intention of following through. We lie to God. So often the Israelites lied to Him. They brought sacrifices, hoping to buy God's blessing. They went through the ritual and the routine of worship, hoping that He would somehow deliver them. They were flattering Him--their hearts were not right with God.

What does it mean to have a heart right with God? It means we are honest and open with Him. We are sincere, not lying. We tell Him just how we feel and exactly what we're going through. That's what God wants. He wants us to walk in the light as He is in the light (I John 1:7), not trying to cover up or excuse our sins, but confessing them. To have our hearts right with the Lord, we must stop flattering God and always deal with Him in truth.

* * *

God wants you to be open and honest with Him. Never flatter Him with dishonesty, insincerity or deception. One way to be honest in your relationship with God is to keep your heart clean. Confess your sins instead of trying to cover them. He knows your heart, so be truthful in your praying.

Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group ( Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from Baker Publishing Group.

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