The Why Behind The What.

Why Are You A Disciple?

In chapter 2 of the book of James, we read that if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds to prove it, it is of no good to him and that kind of faith can not save him. It goes on to say:

17 “In the same way, faith by itself, if it isn’t accompanied by good deeds, is dead.
18 But someone will object, ‘You have faith, whereas I myself have deeds.’ To this I reply, ‘Try to prove your faith to me without deeds. You can’t! I, however, to you, will prove by my deeds that I really do have faith.'”

James 2:17-18 Blessed Hope Translation

Jesus Himself instructed His followers to go and make disciples of all the Gentiles (Matthew 28:19-20), to drive out unclean spirits, and to heal every kind of disease and sickness (Matthew 10:1, 8) among other things. Therefore, we can confidently conclude that these practical aspects of our faith are essential, but they are not the heart of the matter. There’s a deeper layer—the posture of our hearts.

Why Matters More Than What and How

God values our “why” more than just the external actions. He looks beyond into the intentions of our hearts, our motivation, our desires, the final objective of what we do—the purpose. 

“Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous— you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God!”

Psalm 7:9 ESV

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.”

Proverbs 21:2 ESV

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Jeremiah 17:9-10 ESV

It’s easy to get caught up in religious routines, traditions, and duty-bound practices. Let’s pause for a moment and reflect: Why do we do what we do? Is it out of genuine love for God and His truth, or is it merely fulfilling obligations? Is it a desire for recognition and selfish ambitions?

God Knows Your Heart

In the Book of the prophet Isaiah chapter 1, we encounter a powerful message. Despite the Israelites diligently bringing a multitude of sacrifices and offerings to God, He is not merely unpleased but goes so far as to call them an abomination.

11 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. 
12 When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? 
13 Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me.”

Isaiah 1:11-13 ESV

What makes this situation intriguing is that during that period, the temple was far from deserted. Sacrifices and offerings continued as prescribed by God’s law (Hebrews 10:8). Outwardly, they were doing everything right but it was not pleasing to God. Sadly, this is exactly what happens with many today; everything may seem right on the outside—they follow the correct practices and processes, but their hearts are distant from Him (Mark 7:6-22).

Authenticity Over Religious Performance

God desires more than ritualistic practices. He doesn’t just want us to follow a set of rules. He seeks hearts that tremble at His voice, hearts that are humble and contrite (Isaiah 66:2, Psalm 51:17; 147:6-11). Aligning our lives with God’s purpose requires a heart attuned to His truth. Without truth as our foundation, our practices miss the mark.

Our “why” matters profoundly because it reflects the truth that we hold in our hearts. We each construct our lives around what we believe to be truth, and our belief system directly influences our actions, our choices, and the way we live our lives. As the psalmist implores:

“Test me, Lord, and try me; examine my heart and my mind.
For your faithful love guides me, and I live by your truth.”

Psalm 26:2-3 CSB

Like King David, a man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22), we must seek and desire God’s truth. Understanding where history is moving to and recognizing our role within God’s grand narrative is key. Only then can we conform our lives around His truth to not walk in deception, conducting ourselves “according to the standards of this evil and rebellious age, according to the wicked ways of the ruler over the powers in the lower heavens” (Ephesians 2:2 Blessed Hope Translation).

Embracing God’s Truth

Thankfully, we are not left blind and with no direction. God has revealed truth through the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. Yet, one might wonder: How is it that people, drawing from the same source, arrive at different versions of truth, distinct practical applications, and diverse discipleship paths? Why do we find ourselves with over 40,000 Christian denominations worldwide?  

In our modern context, we face the challenge of the gap between our assumptions and presuppositions and those held by the biblical authors. Their worldview, rooted in first-century Jewish thought, differs significantly from our own. Concepts such as the Day of YHWH, Day of the Lord, Resurrection from the Dead, Eternal Judgement, and the Kingdom of God, comprise the redemptive narrative. To truly understand the Scriptures we must have the same mindset that Jesus, the Apostles, and the early disciples had—a late second temple period Jewish Apocalyptic thought. A worldview shaped by centuries of covenant history, prophecies, and longing for the Messiah is needed. We will further explore this at another time.

Today, let us recalibrate our hearts. Truth acts as our compass guiding us toward the Day of YHWH, the promise of resurrection, the weight of judgment, and the anticipation of the coming Messianic Kingdom. These elements form the fabric of the Gospel—a narrative that provides purpose, meaning, and hope.

So let’s pause and reflect – #WhatsYourWhy?

Scroll to Top