Friday, September 6, 2013

It's Not A Religion, It's A Relationship


If there's one thing God cannot stand it's religion. God is God and His Son walked our walk and took our place so that we could freely enter His presence. Jesus did it so that we would no longer need any other intercessor but Him. He flung the gate wide open for those willing to approach. I just can't downgrade that at all. It was such a huge and hurtful price to pay but Jesus loved us. He hated the idols, and the unfaithful hearts were just too much for His heart to bear, and the sin was all too opposite of His holy nature but He loved us enough. Where sin resided His grace over abounded. He denied His own nature to come after us. Jesus with one glance could look past our mess and just see who our Father made us to be. Because He loved and continues to love us for us His message is so clear: Will we let His perfect love really transform us and break every wall? Trespass all obstacles we've set up? Will we dare let our Savior get close enough? You see it doesn't matter if you can't look at Him because He's looking right at you loving you at this moment knowing that when you let Him have His way in you you'll begin to love who He created you to be also. It's about setting aside who we think He is and just giving Him that chance to show us and reveal Himself to us, regardless of whether He comes the way we were expecting Him to or not. We've just got to let His Holy Spirit show up in our lives the way He desires to. 

As I read the Book of Amos a week back one thing really just stood out to me. God was addressing His people with pain that turned into anger because of the way they were living, because of the sin that was all too undeniable to ignore. One day they bowed down and worshipped other man-made gods and idols and the next day they were in the temple praising the living God in their fancy robes. God couldn't stand watching how they played both cards generation after generation and how they participated in such a masquerade. It was just a strong feeling of I love you so much, but why don't you truly love me back? If we pay close enough attention is this not happening today? I was this person at one point in my teenage years, showing up to church forcefully and putting on a pretty face only waiting for that last prayer in the afternoon to storm off and get back to what I called "reality". My idols weren't wood or painted plastic the way some are today but they had names: unfaithfulness, shame, and insecurity to say the least. Clapping my hands one morning and then singing anything but christian music the rest of the day. One day His love was just so big and so in my face, shining through that it woke me up to not just sort of live for Him but to live in the day to day to know His heart. If He was willing to inundate my life that night in such a powerful manner then I knew right then and there that I wanted this every single day of my life. 
God said to His people:
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(Amos 5:21-23) 
“I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. 
Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, 
I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, 
I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! 
I will not listen to the music of your harps.

(Amos 6:5) 
You sing trivial songs to the sound of the harp and fancy 
yourselves to be great musicians like David. 

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God wasn't saying that He didn't love music or fellowship but He was saying that He hated the fact that these things were being done out of religion, not because of true love for God, out of tradition and man-made regulation. Their lips were praising because they had to but there hearts were piled up sky high with idols. The music delighted the ear but the person playing the music, which is what God truly cared about, was so far from knowing God. Religion comes in all colors, sometimes it's so obvious and other times it's very neatly tucked away. The fact that God can just see right through us is why I think we feel the need to hide and why man-kind has always felt the need to hide. I think it's hard for us to fathom how holiness can look straight at us, touch us, and love on us. We don't need to hide anymore. This is to worship in truth. Let your heart be true so that He can begin to work. He loves you and I more than any song we could ever sing. In fact, he loves our music simply because we're the ones who are singing it. Without our hearts being in His hand it's just noise. You see, God offered us His Innocent Son so that through His amazing sacrifice we could have direct access to the Father once again. Since before time existed and we were in the heart of God He wanted to bring us into existence to be in relation with Him, to simply be with us and that was worship. To this day mankind has strayed. What causes us to hide from our creator, our Father, our friend? Sin. After sin crept in and we gave the enemy a foothold in our lives out came religion to invent rules so that we could earn enough merit to maybe have eternal life. maybe. Religion puts a price tag on us that Jesus already paid. God hates religion because it is only through His Son Jesus that we have access to Him. Access that isn't just offered after death, but every day of our lives. 

Religion in all it's splendor and glorious tradition didn't humble itself to die on a cross for us, it does not have life to give. Jesus bled until His very last breathe with you and I on His mind. The same eyes that saw our unformed body came to give us His body in exchange so that we could have the option to live forever by His side. Even after all that, He's not forcing us to be with Him...Jesus died to give us the choice.  Every day we have the opportunity to accept the grace of Jesus so that we can boldly approach the thrown of God. Job cried out for this when he was sick wishing and praying that if only there was someone who could plead his case before God for him. Jesus came to give us this. We don't need any other mediators (people, saints, idols). We just need Jesus. We just need His presence. I thank God that we've been given that option every day, to walk in His presence through the Holy Spirit. I thank God for such a love. I invite you to invite the Holy Spirit into your life, not just because you should or because He's just great company, but because your life will just never be the same after He invades every detail of it. I challenge you if you're a part of a worship team to think about this when you find yourself there leading, playing, or maybe in the crowd. Talk to God and let Him know that you desire Him to show up the way He wants to. As you drive He wants to talk to you just like a friend. When you're at work or at school He delights to be with you if you'll let Him. God wants to be with you and I. Beautiful, and honorable thought.



2 comments :

  1. Beautiful post. I couldn't agree more. God has been showing me a lot on how much He loves us. YES! Our faith in the LIVING King is NOT a religion! It shouldn't be a religion. It shouldn't be something we do once a week by opening the Bible. It is a RELATIONSHIP with the LIVING powerful, King! He is a friend! A Father, the Creator! He is worthy of our daily worship! He is worthy to be prayed to 24/7. That is what a relationship is! And what a special friendship/relationship it is to know and want to get to know more! The LIVING, loving Father Who adores us! We need to adore Him! What a King! He paid the price no human being could do. He has such honor and power! <3

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    Replies
    1. @Lizzie
      Thanks Lizzie. This was really weighing in on my heart so I decided to just write it out. And I know exactly what you mean...I'm driving to school and suddenly words of love pour out into my mind and I just can't help but smile. And I totally agree with you: in a relationship it's conversing as if the person is right there because His Holy Spirit so is, it's prayer, it is lifting up our praises and worship toward Him no matter what. Yes, so true! I wanna share with you that right after I wrote this I went straight to youtube to hear some of Bethel's Lovely Women's Conference music and out of the corner of my eye I saw a thumbnail for a video of Kim Walker. For "some crazy, wild, out of this world reason" I clicked it and watched as The Lord confirmed everything that I've been going through and that I have been talking about. The way God works will never stop blowing my mind. The way He pursues us is beyond me! Like you said, the LIVING God desires us!!!? That's huge! The fact that He now calls us friends... :) My creator came near to me even when I was so not a good friend back and showed me the definition of love & friendship. Is it any wonder why I can't stop singing to Him lol!? He's awesomeness wrapped up in glory lol:)!

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