Summary: Though we want to perform our christian duties, we must perform them in ways that are acceptable to God, not doing one and leaving the other.
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ wants us to be whole and balanced in our relationship with Him. In Matt. 5:48 Jesus would say, "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
I then claim that for this type of relationship that Jesus wants us to have with Him to be real without being legalistic, it is good to consider a few areas where balance and wholeness are needed in our christian journey, if we are to walk towards perfection. This list is not by any means exhaustive.
Queen Esther instructed that all the Jews would fast and pray in order to avert impending annihilation – Esther 4:16, and it worked for the people.
Jesus teaches that some miracles cannot happen unless we engage in fasting and praying – “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” – Matt. 17:21
He however affirms that Food-fasting is good but such a fast that does not include showing mercy is not acceptable - Isa. 58:1-14
Further Jesus teaches that fasting done with the spirit of hypocrisy and show-off mindset is not acceptable.
Paying tithe without showing mercy is not acceptable.
Yes, we know that our tithe belongs to God, as shown in Lev. 27:30 stating, "Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S; it is holy to the LORD."
In Luke 18:12 we hear a man saying, " I fast twice a week and pay tithes of all that I receive."
In fact, some say they don't need to take care of their parents as long as they pay their tithe or do something for God. Jesus responded to this in Mark 7:9-13 saying, “He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban" (that is, a gift to God) - then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do."
But Jesus wants the tithe payment to be acceptable. He says, "What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things." Luke 11:42
This means we should continue to pay or tithe but it does not replace mercy and justice.
Kind David prayed all his life. We too pray all our lives.
Yes, the bible says we should pray without ceasing – 1 Thess. 5:17
Jesus himself gave self to praying but He also teaches that prayers done in pride, show-off mindset, with vain repetition and without forgiving spirit is not acceptable – Matt. 6:5-15
If we say we are under grace and for that reason we don't have to obey law, we are missing it. Paul teaches in Romans 6:14 that, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” He however continues in verse 15 saying, “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” By the time he gets to Romans 7:7-12, he says, “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” …. “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.”
What we are learning here is not just the doing of some religions acts but doing them in manners that please God, in order to avoid futility. This is what I mean by wholeness in Christ. We are not to do one and leave the other. They all work together for our good.