Archive - March, 2008

Tradition.

Jesus once said, “You ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” He said this to a group of people who were known for being extremely “religious”.

They said the “right” things.
They did the “right” things.
They had the “right” doctrine.

Yet, for Jesus, these were some of the most misled and dangerous people around.

They were the ones who hassled him the most.
They were the ones who hated him the most.
They were the ones who had him pinned to a cross in a garbage dump.

In most cases, it seemed as though Jesus and the “religious people” were following a different God, so much so, that Jesus once called the religious leaders “children of hell” and that their “true father” was none other than Satan himself! As I’ve said before in other posts, Jesus reserved his harshest words not for the raunchiest sinner, but for the disillusioned religious elite!

The religious leaders (a.k.a. “children of hell”) were so dangerous because they were perceived as being God’s ambassadors – as reflecting the character and nature of who God was and what he was like. They were the ones who people looked to in order to tell them what God thought about them and how they were to think of him.

Jesus would get so angry with them (and still does, in my opinion) because they misrepresented God the Father and what he was like. Jesus is the true reflection of God because he is God. What we see in Jesus and what we see in the religious leaders could not be more diametrically opposite:

Religious leaders said “do” in order to be acceptable to God.
Jesus said “be” the child of God, the image bearer, that you already are.

Religious leaders heaped oppressive demands onto their followers.
Jesus said, “my yoke is easy, my burden (weight, load to carry) is light.”

Religious leaders kept mental records of their own sin as well as the sins of others.
Jesus said, through his Spirit, “I will remove your sin from you as far as the east is from the west and remember it no more.”

As you can see, when we choose to follow tradition – human religious tradition that has the appearance of godliness but denies the power of the Gospel – we’re in, as they say, “deep doo-doo”. Jesus desires nothing by wrote, but a deep and living interaction with him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Have you considered this for your own religious walk? Does your walk with God resemble an empty, lifeless, religious tradition or is it a vibrant and alive interaction between you and Jesus Christ? Consider the implications of each…

.

Striking.

Something struck me as I was preparing for my message this week: Jesus thinks very highly of us.

Jesus thinks highly of us because he’s God. If Jesus is God and God is Jesus and Jesus not only loves us but actually likes us, then that would mean that God feels the same way about you and about me.

God honors you (Isaiah 43:4).
God calls you “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
God, in fact, loves you (1 John 4:9-11).

I think this struck me so hard because I wonder how many people really believe this? Christians included! Most of us – if only subconsciously – believe that God is mostly mad at us and is really disappointed with our lives. He’s standing in heaven with a long, flowing beard, checklist and clipboard and a sharpened #2 pencil in hand, constantly checking our behavior, scribbling on his checklist and clucking his tongue whenever we goof up.

My question is simply, “who would want to follow a God like that?”

Not me.

Luckily enough, that’s not the God of Scripture and it’s not God the Father of Jesus Christ. Even as I write these words, I can feel a weight being lifted off of my shoulders… God is not mad at me!

Would you take a moment during your day and ask yourself the question, “how do I think God sees me?” Then ask yourself a second question, “how do I see God?” Those two questions, G.K. Chesterton says, are “the most important beliefs” someone has.

God is good. Good is God. God says we’re “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Any questions?.