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This people honors me with their lips,but their hearts are far from me;  in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines. (Matthew 15:8-9).

 In response to insistence that Jesus and his disciples should keep the tradition of the elders, Jesus quoted this prophecy from Isaiah. He went so far as to say the prophecy was about the Pharisees of his generation. Jesus is saying that even if—no, especially if—we fill our lives with religious-sounding platitudes while are hearts are far from God, our religion is in vain.  One way to do that is to make rules and bind them on other people—rules like hand washing in Jesus’ day. These rules did nothing to bring a person’s heart closer to God. What religious things do we insist on that don’t bring us (or others) closer to God? 

Prayer – Lord Jesus, I turn my heart towards you today.  Give me courage to drop vain religious observance from my life. 

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