Monday, May 16, 2011

Not religious

There is much talk, in the USA, about everyone being equal and how religion gets in the way of true freedom. Jesus was concerned about religion getting in the way too. Under God, we are all equal, all shapes, sizes and colors. He loves us all; we're His creations. And truly Jesus never asked us to be "religious." Religious, meaning to me, being so caught up in the law, and a set of rituals, we forget to worship Him and serve others. Jesus detested how religious leaders would brag in the Temple about their offerings and good works. They would puff out their chest, lift up their chins, and basically show off. If I saw this, I'd feel there was no way I could please God. I'm not wealthy, not a leader, I don't have access to the rich and famous. Just the people around me, simple folks.

Jesus said it this way:
Matthew 7:12
12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
My Pastor pointed out something very cool about this verse yesterday. Most religions tell people to not do to others what they don't want done to them. But Jesus is different- upside down and backwards. He wants us to do, to serve others.  

Out of the ten commandments, these are the top two:
Matthew 22:37-40
37 Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

It took a bit to get on the same page with this part of the Psalms,  after thinking through all this, and prayer, it came to life for me.  The double-minded would be those who fake Christianity, or Judaism.  There are some beautiful verses here, so I highlighted them in blue.
Psalms 119:113-120

113 I hate the double-minded,
But I love Your law.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in Your word.
115 Depart from me, you evildoers,
For I will keep the commandments of my God!
116 Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live;
And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.
117 Hold me up, and I shall be safe,
And I shall observe Your statutes continually.
118 You reject all those who stray from Your statutes,
For their deceit is falsehood.
119 You put away all the wicked of the earth like dross;
Therefore I love Your testimonies.

When I read this verse I felt a little sad because the author hadn't experienced Jesus' sacrifice.  If we accept His sacrifice, we don't need to be afraid.  However, God is not a big kitty cat.  He is the Almighty, to be respected and honored.   We will know His forgiveness and most powerful love.  Totally awesome.
120 My flesh trembles for fear of You,
And I am afraid of Your judgments.

Here's some more verses that describe what Jesus looks for in us.
Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Matthew 9:13
13 But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.

John 3:16-17
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Christianity isn't religious.  It's a relationship of worship and love toward God.  It's active and serves others.


  1. Yes, there is indeed a big difference between "religion" and Christianity as practiced between individuals and Him. Religions can become tainted by man. Personal faith is a relationship.

  2. Amen! It's all about the simple things.

  3. Yea!! Religion tells you what to do, but Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and He will lead you into victory all the time! :)

  4. Oh Karen, in Nairobi we even have tribal issues, forget religion! but truth is Jesus is the way to anything in life! Thanks for sharing.:)Such an inspiration.

  5. Thanks! God bless you both. Murugi, you are right. We only hear about the US struggles here, I hadn't thought about all the issues other nations have. Thanks for sharing!

    Joy! You are so right. Religion can't save us, only Jesus can. And He speaks to us individually with a plan and purpose, in our hearts. A religion can't do that.