Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Chains of Religion

"Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ." Galatians 3:2, NLT

Let me just start off by saying, "Wow God!" This morning. Something I read in Christine Caine's devotional jumped out at me, and I felt like I needed to write about religion. So many people are still stuck in their religious ways and they aren't really experiencing a relationship with God. They think they are, but they aren't.

Then, from a list of Bible readings that I'm following, I had to read Galatians 3. God gave me this huge confirmation that I am supposed to write about this today. 

You see, what happens is, people give their life to Jesus, then they think they have to jump through hoops, bend over backwards, serve until their fingers fall off, pray for many hours a day, read the Bible through in a year (every year), and be at church every time the doors are open.

Let me tell you the truth. That's not how God works.

He is not interested in religion. Let me share a few more Scriptures with you:

Galatians 3:13, "But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When He was hung on the cross, He took upon Himself the curse for our wrong doing. For it is written in the Scriptures, "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."

Galatians 3:19, "Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave His law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people."

Galatians 3:24, "Let me put it another way, the law was our guardian until Christ came. It protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. 25 And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian."

Is this saying we should throw the 10 commandments out of the window? NOPE!

What this is saying is that we live under grace now. 

From Living Life Undaunted by Christine Caine:

"I'm sure it must grieve God to have paid such a great price for our salvation and freedom only to find so many still shackled by the bondage of religion. He does not want us to try to relate to Him through tedious or religious protocol, but rather to enter boldly into His throne room of grace, full of joy and expectation. Dare to open up your heart and life to the freedom of a relationship with your heavenly Father!"

Going through the motions of a relationship is not having a relationship. By that I mean, reading your Bible because you feel like you have to or God will strike you down, going to church every time the doors are open because you think that's what "Good Christians do.", praying to God only because you've been told you should, serving at church in a place that you do not like because you feel like God will be happy with you if you do (or because you've done it for years).

God does not work this way folks!

God wants a relationship with us. This means He wants our hearts. He wants us to pray because we want to talk to Him. If you are anything like me, when something bad happens, I go to my friends after God and sometimes first if I'm honest. Same thing for when something good happens. God wants us to go to Him about everything in our lives, good and bad.

God wants us to read the Bible to learn more about Him and let Him speak to us. Don't read the Bible because you think it's the "right thing to do." Sure, it's good, but your heart motives matter. 

And by all means, PLEASE stop serving at the church if you hate what you are doing. I mean seriously, do you think that's pleasing to God? (or anyone else for that matter?) He wants us to serve Him out of joy and because we want to. Not because we are afraid of what someone else will think of us. Or because "we've served there for so many years." 

Your heart and your motives are known by God. Humans see what you are doing on the outside. They might think you are totally awesome because you read your Bible, pray, attend church so much and serve. They can't see your heart.

Religion wants you to do all of those things thinking you are gaining God's approval. 

God already approves of you because if you are a Christ follower, you are His child. He loves you unconditionally and steadfastly. What you do doesn't determine His love!

Break those chains of religion that are binding you.

Walk in the freedom of the relationship that God has with you. That's all He wants.

Let me be clear on something. Should we be doing these things... reading our Bible, praying, attending church and serving? SURE! We should be, out of love for our Heavenly Father. Out of a relationship.

Not for man's approval. Heck, not even for God's approval. Nothing you can do will make Him love you any more than He already does.

If any of this sounds like how you've been living, I hope that you will pray and ask God for clarification. Check your heart. I pray that you will no longer live under the law..... because that's not freedom. 

Jesus came so we could be free from sin and the law. Will you let Him remove your chains?

God bless you today and always.

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