You are just like one of the Pharisees. ~God
This was my exact reaction when I heard the Lord say this to me several years ago. I was like, “Wayment Jesus! Me?! No! How?”
Granted, He probably didn’t say it quite like that because He tends to be a bit gentler than me, but that was certainly the way I heard it!
For most of my life, until I transitioned from a religionship (yes, this is a word I created!) to a real relationship with the Lord, I was focused on what I could control on the outside and the things I called myself doing for God.
What do I mean?
My appearance, my hair, my look, my clothes, achievements and education were all used as ways to camouflage a broken heart, jacked up thinking and a crushed soul in an effort to appear altogether.
I was doing for God, as a “good Christian” would, i.e. going to church regularly, paying my tithes, serving in 50 million ministries, and essentially saying, “Look at me God!”
I found myself even turning my nose up (in my head) at those who I felt were not doing enough or being sold out for Jesus.
Let me be clear: This religionSHIP I was in with the Lord was after I was saved.
Oh, but when I really allowed the Lord into the secret, more intimate spaces of my heart and house (my mind, body and soul), He began pointing out and then slowly shedding me of those Pharaisaic ways.
And He started from the inside and worked His way outward.
He began to deal with my resentment, anger (i.e. unresolved hurt), bitterness, unforgiveness and my hardened heart.
He came in my house I let Him in with a bucket, a sponge, water and cleaning supplies and He began cleaning my house.
(That may have been the way He responded when He first starting cleaning, lol. I am still a work in progress.)
But seriously, I began giving Him access to those back rooms and closet spaces that we often don’t want our guests to see, the rooms reserved only for me to go into.
He needed to change my inner self first, by way of His Holy Spirit, to conform to His precepts and to look more like His Son. I am grateful He started with the little things first.
It was no longer about going to church on Sundays, Tuesdays for prayer, Wednesdays for Bible study, and any other day the church building was open.
It went beyond signing up for several ministries to show that I was being a devoted Christian.
It wasn’t even just about paying my tithes, staying out of the club, not cursing or having sex, or rule keeping, which apparently somehow qualifies you to get to heaven–something so many who profess the Christian faith try to regulate (if you talk to a fellow religionship person).
But He said, “Woe to you lawyers as well, because you weigh men down with burdens [man-made rules, unreasonable requirements] which are hard to bear, and you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers [to lighten the load]. Luke 11:46, AMP
It was a matter of my heart.
Any act/work devoid of a primary motivation of one’s love and devotion to Christ is probably as a result of being in the wrong SHIP with the Lord. (ReligionSHIP)
We should be motivated to give, to serve, to pay our tithes (and give generously), pray, practice purity (yes, even in marriage), love others, fast, etc out of our love for Him and not simply because the Bible tells us to do so. (RelationSHIP)
If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. ~John 14:15, The MSG
It doesn’t say do what I tell you to do because I said so, but because you love Jesus.
So which SHIP are you in?
How do you know if you are in a religionSHIP or a relationSHIP with the Lord? Here are some questions to consider:
- Am I doing/not doing (practicing/not practicing)_________________ because this is what I was taught/told to do but I am not really sure why?
- Am I doing/not doing (participating/not participating in)________________ because I desire to honor God, bring glory to His name and represent Him well to others?
- Am I doing/not doing ___________________ because I am expecting a reward in return from God vs. out of my love for Him?
It’s not too late to get out if you are in the wrong SHIP. Be sure to do it while you are waiting as you become God’s best right NOW.
It’s just that kind of love He has for each of us that makes it worth it.
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (several translations)
Photo credit: Photo credit: giphy, Imgur
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