The teachers of religious laws and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses.
So practice and obey whatever they tell you,
but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach.
They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.
Religion is the worst thing that has ever happened to mankind. I’ve been saved for the last 9 years and religion is the worst thing ever happened to me. Four years ago I experienced a severe burn out. I was just so tired. I was serving and doing a lot of good works that I thought pleased God. I didn’t know the burn out was from pouring from myself and that tires you. I had so many questions that religion could not answer. I felt there was something better I just didn’t know how to get it. When God saves us He doesn’t expect us to be religious but to pursue a relationship with Him. Here are a few reasons you might want to reconsider being religious.
Religion stereotypes God. God has truly been the greatest casualty of religion. He is believed to be the force behind all the bad things in life. All my life I have read God’s promises but never really felt like they referred to me. I have known God to be healer and so many other great attributes but never really felt like I was a part of it. Yes He is healer but is He willing to heal me? That has been my greatest battle, God’s willingness. I was always afraid of the kind of spouse God would bring to me. Lol yes I know most of you have thought that too. I believed Him to withhold good things from me. I believed Him to be a God who makes us relinquish good things. But God will never ask you to relinquish anything that He did not have a better substitute for. Listen I’m not saying that bad things do not happen. But in us we have the power and authority to overcome those things. God does not call us more than victorious for nothing.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven,
but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name,
cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Religion focuses on works. Religion makes you think you are perfect because you do or don’t do certain things. The pharisees imposed great religious demands on people. They taught the law of Moses but failed to understand the heart of the law maker. Yes they tithed. They rested on the sabbath. Prayed long prayers. Only walked with the ‘righteous’. Stoned those who committed adultery. All the works that they believed made them righteous. You see you can do good works and still be unrighteous. By all standards the pharisees did all they were required to but did not have the love of God. Our own righteousness is as filthy rags, it cannot match up to His standards. The only way God can be pleased with our righteousness is if we are washed by the blood of Jesus. Now there is nothing wrong with good works. But if you want to do good works for God you must partner with Him. It is possible to do good works out of His will. Religion has created a rut of works and people feel they are in good standing with God because of those works. We are God’s workmanship. Don’t do what everybody does. Seek God and He will let you know how to partner with Him in doing great works for the kingdom.
If you want to serve God tarry in His presence and seek Him first. God does not assume that you want to serve Him. He wants to hear you say that you are willing and then He will commission you for what you were created to do. This is the pattern of great men that God used in the bible. Isaiah 6 speaks of Isaiah’s commissioning and it was at this place that God gave Him instructions and the authority to carry them out. When Jesus got baptized He was commissioned to do His ministry. When you read the book of Acts you see how the early church waited patiently for the Holy Spirit and when He came He commissioned them to carry out the instructions they had received. All his life Moses knew that his purpose was to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the promised land but he was only effective when God appeared to him on Mount Sinai and commissioned him to carry out the instructions he had received. For all these people because they only did what God had called them to do they were able to walk in God’s full power and authority. The only good works God wants you to do are the ones He instructs you to do. For these, He will give supernatural provision. God wants us to be effective just like Him.
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—
how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things
Religion paints God as a God who withholds. Years back I was in a place where I was so devastated. We had just received our KCSE results and I had gotten a B-. Guys I have no words to describe how devastated I felt. In my mind I thought, so how was I going to compete with my age mates who had gotten better results than myself? We were all competing for the same success, the same jobs and my small mind could not understand how I could ever achieve the dreams that I had. As I was praying that evening, pouring out my heart to God, He told me, ‘ I did not withhold my son from you. My son was the very best thing I had and I did not withhold him from you. I gave you my best. So what is it that you could ask from me that I could withhold from you seeing that I already gave you my world.’ Yes guys God said that and the following Sunday in church the sermon was from Romans 8;32. Believe me, I did not know what God had told me was a verse in Romans 8;32. What do you think God is withholding from you?
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn
in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split
Religion severs the relationship we should be having with God by introducing a go between. When Jesus died on the cross, one of the most significant things that He did was to tear the veil. God was saying I want to have a personal relationship with you. God yearns to have a relationship with you. He says He knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb. A friend sent me an article she had written and in it she had quoted Jeremiah 1:5 and for the first time that word knew stood out of the verse. The word knew is used several times in the bible when and especially when a man got married to a woman and the bible will recount, ‘That he knew her.’ An intimate kind of knowledge. And God doesn’t just say that He knows us, it’s an intimate knowledge. I don’t know about you but this is so profound! And He further says that He has numbered all the hairs on your head. Do you even know how many hairs you have? I have always yearned for this kind of love. We were created to experience this kind of love.
And because God has created us all so uniquely He also loves us so uniquely and does not love us all the same way. I’m not talking about the measure, I’m talking about the method. He loves us in the unique manner He created us. And if He created us uniquely that means that He also requires to love Him in the same unique manner. The greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all your being. You can only know how to love Him if you spend time with Him. God and I share the same love language (LOL) we love quality time. Demystify God by spending time with Him. See, if we think we know Him then we won’t have a chance of loving Him. It’s like coming from a previous relationship and loving your partner how you showered your ex with love. The intentions could be good but your partner might not feel very loved. In a relationship, you must take time to know your lover, learn their love language and then love them that way.
Religion says you MUST be perfect. In order to pursue a relationship with God you must relinquish perfection. You will never be perfect, not on your own. He wants you that way. Honey, your faith doesn’t have to be perfect. If amongst all the doubts and fears you can muster just a little seed then that’s it, that’s all He wants. He can work with the little you are willing to give Him. He just wants your will. He doesn’t want you try He alone. Give Him that tiny little seed and watch it grow into a full blown tree bearing good fruit. It doesn’t have to be pretty, just give Him the ashes. Tired of those cycles in your life? Just give those cycles to Him. What you confess He will cover. What you let go He will control. He wants you as you are. With all the addictions and the pain, the sicknesses and the failures, the doubts and the fears. He only requires us to be willing. To take the first step towards His direction. You don’t have to figure it all out. Just submit. One simple prayer, ‘Lord I submit’. His strength is made perfect in your weakness. You have no idea how happy God gets when you stop trying on your own.
I finish with this, last year I was going through a wilderness season, I felt forgotten by God. This one evening I went to a worship service and the worship leader ministered on Isaiah 49:15-16 where God speaks of never forgetting His children. At that point I didn’t even feel like God was speaking to me because sometimes you’re so deep inside your sorrow you can’t even hear God. But I remember looking at verse 16 and seeing ‘.. Your walls are ever before me.‘ That line literally took me out of the pit. I felt understood by God. You see because of Israel’s disobedience and rebellion God had sent people to vandalize Israel and now her walls lay in ruins. That was exactly how I felt. And God was saying to me that evening I have tattooed you on my palms, your walls are ever before me.
Relinquish religion. Pursue a relationship with Him.