Lately, the more I hear people talk about and mention “religion” the more I am disgusted with the whole concept of religion in our modern culture. According to James, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” (James 1:27 NLT)
That is not what I see though. I see a society that says “religion” is putting on nice clothes to go to a brick-and-mortar building once or twice a week and then trying to follow a bunch of worldly laws and behaviors throughout the remainder of the week. We go to our church of choice that fits the style that we most identify with. The one that has the kind of music that we like, delivers us the most spiritual and inspiring sermons, has the best building, and doesn’t judge us or push us to much to change the way that we live our lives. For some it seems like going church is a task that they feel obligated to complete each week just so that they can feel like a more well rounded person. For others church is more like a country club or social club that gives them a certain status or identity within their community which provides them with friends to hang out with on the weekends. In both of those cases, church is all about “what can I GET” instead of “what can I GIVE”. Going to church has become more about YOU getting your “religious experience” for the week than you coming to give of your time, energy, and gifts to benefit the people in your local church and community.
We are missing it! According to James, religion has NOTHING to do with me GETTING something, but EVERYTHING to do with me GIVING of my time, energy, and talents to care for those on the edge of society… homeless, parent-less, widows, ect. It has EVERYTHING to do with me GIVING my time and energy for training myself to be in the world but not of it… to live in it but not love it. True Religion ain’t about me, myself, or I… it never was and it never will be! Its meant to point to something greater.
If I can be honest, it seems like our modern society has made religion anything but “refusing to let the world corrupt”. Much of what I see and hear implies that the very ways of the world are being used to define current day religion. Turn on the news and you will hear how the Catholic Church takes “this” political stance or how Conservative Christians vote “this” way or “that” way or how hypocritical Christians are nothing but hateful and condemning towards those who don’t believe the same way that they do.
Somewhere along the line religion has lost sight of the only real example of True and Genuine Religion… JESUS. Going to church, hanging out with “good” people, and taking a Christian-based political stance on a some current issue will not save you from your life of sin… nor can it bring you back into right standing with the God of the Universe. In Isaiah 64:6, it says that the things you do in the name of religion, apart from Jesus, are like filthy rags in the sight of a righteous God. The whole point of religion is to point to the Christ!
A life of service and True Religion is the result of a personal relationship with the One true God. When we receive the gift that is offered to us through the blood of Jesus then we are reunited with our Heavenly Father and therefore have access to the power that can heal diseases, bring people back from the dead, and move mountains. A relationship like that will change you… FOREVER. You won’t ever be the same when you experience the love and grace that God offers. THAT is where TRUE RELIGION is born!
What is YOUR religion based on? Really think about why you do what you do… Life is to short to waste your time and energy on anything other than what brings your Creator glory. Don’t spend time with filthy rags… let the blood of Jesus point your efforts towards God.