Thursday, February 16, 2012

Religion without Relationship……

“This word came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house and make this word known: ‘Hear the Word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who go through these gates to worship the Lord!’”   The Lord of All, the God of Israel, says, “Change your ways and your works for the better, and I will let you live in this place.   Do not trust the lies that say, ‘This is the house of the Lord, the house of the Lord, the house of the Lord.’

 For if you for sure change your ways and what you do for the better, if you are fair as you judge between a man and his neighbor, if you do not make it hard for the stranger from another land, or the child whose parents have died, or the woman whose husband has died, and do not kill those who are not guilty in this place, and stop going after other gods, for that will destroy you,  then I will let you live in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.

 “See, you are trusting in lies which cannot help you.  Will you steal, kill, do sex sins, make false promises, give gifts to the false god Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and THEN come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are safe and free!’ and still do all these hated sins?  Has this house which is called by My name become a place of robbers in your eyes?   See, I Myself have seen it,” says the Lord.”  Jer. 7:1-11 NLV

Unless we make a considerable effort to keep God, and our relationship with Him, at the forefront of our minds, it will not be long before our Christianity slips into self-deception.  When that happens we begin to take God for granted and just routinely do our “God-stuff” ----we just go through the motions.

We need intimacy with God, but we are usually unwilling to invest the time necessary to get to know Him, or to know what He expects from us in that relationship.

One thing we should all know for sure is that God wants intimacy with His children and is doing everything He can to bring us to the place where we will begin working on that relationship of intimacy. The difficulty is that we deceive ourselves into thinking that we already have an intimate relationship with God when we really do not.

We think because we go to church regularly and pray before our meals that all is well in God-Ville.  We also think because we give money to the church and read our Bibles that we are doing what we need to do to have intimacy with God.

 Self-deception comes in all kinds of forms and in many degrees.  The nation of Israel at the time of Jeremiah was guilty of almost every form of deception.  Rules without relationship will degenerate into self-deception.  Religion without relationship is equally as deadly.

The people of Israel had deceived themselves into thinking that everything in their lives was right with God as long as their Temple practices were in order (Jer. 7:4).  What a debilitating form of self-deception.  It was religion without relationship.

Religion without relationship tends to generate into a worship of form and practice that lacks in any real heart motivation for real ministry and a true concern for souls and lives.

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water"” (John 7:37-38).

If that is what you want to see in your life, you are going to have to seriously evaluate your priorities.  The flow of that "living water" will begin when your heart and God's heart are one.

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