Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.
Sometimes it makes me nervous when I hear folks say they like to come to church because it makes them “feel good”. Obviously, it makes sense that a believer would feel good when they spend time with God’s people, worship the Lord and sit under the influence of the Word and the Spirit. But I sense from some folks that their experience is more like that of Herod.
They respect and like to be around people who live godly lives. They may even stand up for them and defend them like Herod did. They like to hear the messages, though sometimes what the preacher says can be a little troubling, still they like to listen. Church makes them feel good but it doesn’t make them live good. It has little or no impact on their daily lives. What a dangerous way to live!
Compare it to the man who has a disease eating away his body. A cure is readily available and he always feels so encouraged when the doctor tells him how this wonder drug can heal him and make him completely whole. He loves to hear the doctor eloquently explain the beauty of this cure but the man never takes the medicine! What a fool you would say – and you would be right.
Foolish Herod, to be so enchanted but still unchanged. God’s goal is not to tickle our ears but to transform our hearts. It is wonderful to come to church, listen, cheer and feel good about being there but we must never let feeling better be a substitute for being better. Talking about the antidote for sin cannot substitute for taking the antidote. Being around Christ’s followers cannot substitute for being Christ’s follower.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.