Isaiah 1:16-17: “Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.”

Give up your evil ways – God says. What evil ways? To answer this question, let’s take a look at Prophet Isaiah’s preceding statement. Here goes (Isaiah 1:13-15):

” Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts;
    the incense of your offerings disgusts me!
As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath
    and your special days for fasting—
they are all sinful and false.
    I want no more of your pious meetings.
 I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals.
    They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!
 When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look.
    Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen,
    for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.”

A litany of things God absolutely hates:

  • Meaningless gifts;
  • Celebrations void of any meaning;
  • Pretend-prayers;
  • Predator attitude;
  • Bloodshed;

Ask yourself how offensive it would be if your spouse only pretends to be in love with you. Behind your back your spouse pursues extramarital activities. God has feelings too. Ignoring His values and blatantly disregarding other people while pretending to love Him is highly offensive to God. Taking Him seriously is to respect His feelings. Honoring Him is to be honest with Him. That’s how righteous living starts.

Doing good is a learning experience – since no one is born “good”. A lifestyle of doing good always develops over time. There is no shortcut to this lifestyle. We don’t age overnight, and we don’t turn into good people overnight. Pretending to be good won’t do. God won’t let us get away with it. He wants us to be real. He is only interested in genuine relationships, not fake ones.

All of this is actually a compliment for us. Think about it: God pursues the real you. He won’t put up with a copycat. So shed the copycat and let His waves of mercy wash all over you. Getting real is how you get clean.

Everything important starts in our hearts. And as we walk out the door today, let’s walk with God!

All day I’ve faced a barren waste
Without the taste of water, cool water

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