So we all see the signs of caution on advertisements for cigarettes. Those who smoke, know fully well what it is doing to their bodies. Yet they don’t care.. In fact it’s hard for their loved ones to watch them burn money and burn their lungs… The smokers don’t care that it’s not just killing themselves but others around them too – as passive smoking is equally bad.. I have major allergies to smoke and I’m asthmatic. Even before I smell the smoke, my throat starts to itch and I know someone is smoking in the vicinity. Sure enough the whiff of smoke is soon ushered in with the gentle breeze. The heavier the smoke, the more it affects me. I wonder how a new born baby’s lungs are affected as tiny and fragile as they are, let alone the lungs of an embryo – if my adult lungs suffer so much. If someone doesn’t care about their own health, how can we rightfully expect that person to care about those around him/her?
I see the same irony with doctors – those who are ‘health specialists’ yet those who smoke! It makes me wonder what drives them to do what they do then – is it compassion or is it merely a career? We find ourselves full of hypocrisy in the various lines of our education / careers.. We study about stuff but have we allowed that to impact our lives or is it merely head knowledge stored away taking up much portion of our brain memory? People who have gone through Bible college are not exempt. Many know about the Bible, they have even memorised it from cover to cover, but it remains in the head. Well, is it any wonder then that we do see even Buddhist monks teaching the Bible at Universities? So many Bible teachers know the Bible at a head knowledge but it hasn’t impacted their lives.
So many of us do the same.. We religiously give their ‘tithes’ and spend our “allocated” daily time with the Lord – often like a road runner – racing through a devotional, reading a section of Scripture and telling God what WE want and what WE need and of course perhaps also ask Him to protect OUR family… and finished off with a content AMEN.. Duty is done for the day – register marked happily with me and mine! We have religion!
We are allowing too many rivals of God. We actually have too many gods. We have too many irons in the fire.
We have too much theology that we don’t understand.
We have too much churchly institutionalism. We have too much religion. Actually,
I guess we just have too much of too much! A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)
God isn’t happy with lengthy prayers nor is He happy with rituals. He OPENLY rebuked the Pharisees for all this. Often Christians take what is ‘practical’ for them and are happy that they fulfil it. Tithing is adhered to, while all other laws in the Old Testament are just that – of the OLD testament – and thus not valid or necessary for us to follow. Well, perhaps we have been taught that – so we believe what we have been taught. However, have we realised that the New Testament also talks about finances but in a different light.. just like it is with all other topics? It’s now about ‘blessings’ to be shared, it’s about giving and not storing nor saving… We are told to share with one another in ‘need’. Tithing isn’t mentioned as a concept in the New Testament as after all we are under grace and not law. However, it’s replaced by giving which is covered by the two greatest commandments. Love God with your ALL and love your neighbour as yourself.
It should be about RELATIONSHIP, not RELIGION! When relationship enters the scene, religion gets kicked out!
When we love God with our ALL then we begin to love ourselves as we find our rooting and security and purpose in Him. Then we are also able to love others AS OURSELVES, by the same measure and standards. It doesn’t need to be forced, it becomes natural, automatic. We also thus realise whatever it is that we have/own belongs to God – from time, to money to resources to assets. We don’t just give a portion of our time to God and then spend the remaining as we wish doing whatever we want to do.. We don’t just give a portion of our finances to God (especially ‘tithes’) and then do whatever we want to do with the rest – whether spend lavishly or save miserly or save lavishly!
When we are in relationship, we realise everything belongs to Him and whatever it is that we do, we do it as He leads us – from spending our time to spending our resources. We honour Him by showing our love in deed to Him and to others with what we have. In fact, we then learn balance and learn to distinguish needs from wants. We trust God to give us what we need and also trust Him to shower us with a treat if He wants us to have it.. but we share what we have from time to money to material possessions.
We will no longer have head knowledge and thus mere words, but rather we would internalise what we learn and apply it to action and deeds… Hearts that are surrendered to God will continually allow God to examine them and allow God to lead us by the Holy Spirit being grateful to the intimacy that has been brought about by the work of Christ – His birth, death and resurrection 🙂
- Where do you stand today?
- Are you someone who has heard about what Jesus Christ has done for you and yet to embrace Christ?
- Or have you already embraced Christ but just given Him a compartment of your heart or life… Perhaps are you one who gives Sundays over to God and uses the rest of the week for yourself? Or perhaps you give time regularly to engage in religious activities but yet have no AUTHENTIC relationship with God (being in tune with Him 24x7x365) let alone with people?
- Do you love yourself?
Maybe it’s time for change…
God is looking for sincere RELATIONSHIP not hypocritical RELIGION.