Losing My Religion
At this week's youth group meeting, Eddie told the teens that the Gospel is not about doing the rules right, living right or earning our salvation. The beauty of the Gospel is that only God is perfect and our belief in Him allows us to be right with Him, regardless of how good or bad we think we are.
Eddie talked about how Abram was "right with God" before there was any such thing as the Ten Commandments or a temple, or even a nation of Israel. His righteousness was based on his belief in God, that's it. When Jesus healed the woman with the blood condition, she in fact had been breaking Jewish law to touch him while she bled. Jesus saw her and said, "Your faith has healed you." He touched lepers, he ate and healed on Sabbath, time and again Jesus showed that the restrictions of religion didn't hold the power of healing or life- He did.
Hosea 6:6 TLB
“I don’t want your sacrifices—I want your love;
I don’t want your offerings—I want you to know me."
In the desert, the Israelites were wooed and tended to by God. They relied wholly on His provision, on His presence and protection. It took a generation, but when they finally entered the Promised Land, they were a people set apart for intimacy with their God. Four thousand years passed between the Exodus and Jesus arriving on the scene. Four thousand years for a people betrothed to God to lose the point of their assignment. Four thousand years to obsess about the law, replacing relationship with religion.
Here we are, two thousand years since Jesus' ascension. Have we done the same? Are we more dedicated to studying the Word than living it? Does our sense of morality, or our rights, dictate our actions more than the still, small voice of the Spirit? Are we more comfortable with the prescribed recipe of modern church services than baring our hearts to our Savior?
The early church didn't have hymnals, seminary or Strong's Concordance to rely upon. They met in homes, not cathedrals or chapels like we do today. The first Christians relied on the example of Jesus' life and the Spirit to know how to love -and live for- God in their day to day lives. This bare-bones relationship-based faith spread like wildfire, and no wonder!
How much of the expression of our faith is tied to the trappings of religious observance? Can we sing a new song unto the Lord without a 6 piece worship band leading us? Can we confess our sins without an altar call? Can we learn how to love God for who He is, rather than working tirelessly to appease Him? In these ways, and many more, I am searching my heart and motivations and slowly, but surely, I'm losing my religion.