I came across the statement found on the business website of Tony Robbins, “The biggest mistake most businesses make is falling in love with their product or service, not with their clients.”
While the context of learning wasn’t about the faith community It really hit me how easily believers in Yeshua can also make this mistake. We can all fall in love with the Torah, keep the Sabbath, attend our congregations and not fall in love with the people Yeshua died for. Strangely, many can be more in love with “the truth” than the God of the truth we profess to care about. We can “read” the Bible but without the enlightenment of the Spirit of God we won’t be able to truly comprehend what is being said. We won’t have the love of God because the God of love is not in us.
Yeshua said, “You keep examining the Tanakh because you think that in it you have eternal life. Those very Scriptures bear witness to me, but you won’t come to me in order to have life!” John 5:39-40 The Jewish prophet Isaiah said, “’For ADONAI has poured over you a spirit of lethargy; he has closed your eyes (that is, the prophets) and covered your heads (that is, the seers). For you this whole prophetic vision has become like the message in a sealed-up scroll. When one gives it to someone who can read and says, “Please read this,” he answers, “I can’t, because it’s sealed.” If the scroll is given to someone who can’t read with the request, “Please read this,” he says, “I can’t read.”
Then Adonai said, “Because these people approach me with empty words, and the honor they bestow on me is mere lip-service; while in fact they have distanced their hearts from me, and their ‘fear of me’ is just a mitzvah of human origin —therefore, I will have to keep shocking these people with astounding and amazing things, until the ‘wisdom’ of their ‘wise ones’ vanishes, and the ‘discernment’ of their ‘discerning ones’ is hidden away.” Isaiah 29:10-14
“Oh yes, they seek me day after day and [claim to] delight in knowing my ways. As if they were an upright nation that had not abandoned the rulings of their God, they ask me for just rulings and [claim] to take pleasure in closeness to God, [asking,] ‘Why should we fast, if you don’t see? Why mortify ourselves, if you don’t notice?’ “Here is my answer: when you fast, you go about doing whatever you like, while keeping your laborers hard at work. Your fasts lead to quarreling and fighting, to lashing out with violent blows. On a day like today, fasting like yours will not make your voice heard on high.
“Is this the sort of fast I want, a day when a person mortifies himself? Is the object to hang your head like a reed and spread sackcloth and ashes under yourself? Is this what you call a fast, a day that pleases Adonai? “Here is the sort of fast I want — releasing those unjustly bound, untying the thongs of the yoke, letting the oppressed go free, breaking every yoke, sharing your food with the hungry, taking the homeless poor into your house, clothing the naked when you see them, fulfilling your duty to your kinsmen!” Then your light will burst forth like the morning, your new skin will quickly grow over your wound; your righteousness will precede you, and Adonai’s glory will follow you. Isaiah 58:2-8
When we love doctrine more than God our personal spiritual life and the spiritual lives of our congregations will fail just like the organizations that arrogantly prioritize their products and services as the solution while disregarding the actual practical needs of those around them. But spiritual death can be almost undetectable because it can be masked under a high focus on religious duty, sometimes even using this as a reason to be unwilling to make adjustments to put effort into discovering and caring for the needs of others. We can replace a relationship with God with simply having a strong theology about God. One of the key indicators that we are doing this is how we treat people.