This is the one thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? – Galatians 3:2-3
Religion. It sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? God is probably all for religion, don’t you think? Doesn’t God want you and me to be more and more religious so we can please Him? The answer is without a doubt NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As surprising as it may seem, God hates religion. That is right… God hates religion. You see, religion is man trying to do things to work his way to God. That is impossible. You and I can never work our way to God. That is why Jesus came to earth… to bring God to us.
REMEMBER THE PHARISEES
When Jesus walked the earth, was there anyone He encountered more “religious” than the Pharisees? They went to great lengths to keep the smallest portions of the law. They took the 10 Commandments and added another 600+ commandments to them. They even tithed from their garden: mint, dill and cumin. They fasted twice a week. They NEVER missed a service and NEVER worked on the Sabbath. They were religious to the hilt… yet there were lost and opposed the work of God in Christ Jesus. They were the ones who had Jesus arrested and called for His crucifixion.
FIGHTING RELIGION TODAY
God is not a God of religion, He is a God of relationship. His chief goal is not that we keep a long list of rules like the Pharisees did. He wants us to know Him and love Him with all our heart… and all our soul… and all our mind… and all our strength.
As true, born again believers, we are still susceptible to the trap of religion. We are susceptible to getting on a performance treadmill with God, erroneously thinking, “If I just do more and try harder, He will love me and be pleased with me.” That is a lie from hell. God loves you just because you are you!! He is pleased with us when we walk in the power of His Spirit, not in the power of our flesh.
Perhaps today you are feeling burdened in your Christian life. The joy and excitement that once characterized your walk with the Lord is now gone. Trying has dethroned trusting. Running has dethroned resting. Legalism has dethroned liberty. Are you and I so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are we now being perfected in the flesh?
DOING WHAT HE SAYS
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 46:10, “Cease Striving [let go, relax] and know that I am God.” Would you do that today? Would you tell the Lord you want to get back to that simple love relationship with Him… spending time with Him not because you have to, but because you want to… obeying Him not as a burden, but as a joy… living for Him not in your fleshly strength, but in His divine strength?
You and I will be amazed at what He will do when we say goodbye to dead religion and hello to exciting relationship with the Savior.
Devotional forwarded to you by:
UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT
NCCP Ecumenical Ministry of the Church of the Risen Lord
University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC