Let’s Be More Religious

Written by Dave Schmidgall | October 29, 2010 |

The Message
“1So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:  Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and place it before God as an offering.”

Offering is an interesting word used quite frequently in scriptures.  1368 times to be exact.  I actually counted the rows in the concordance.  I love how some Rabbi’s choose to translate the Hebrew word for offering:  “to come near.”

Perhaps you’ve thought of it this way yourself or you’ve encountered people that believe God is some distant God in the clouds or reigning down vengeance somewhere or, at best, just ambivalent.  From the beginning of Scriptures up until this very day, you can throw out this idea that we serve a God that is inaccessible, unavailable, unconcerned.  God is a God who wants us to come near, to draw near.  You lied to someone and feel horrible?  Come near, offer yourself. 

Here’s the kicker though:  He wants ALL of it, not just a morsel here and a morsel there.  If not all, what happens?  We begin to embrace the name of God, but not His nature.  I heard a rap song the other day and it had all sorts of expletives and talk of ripping some girls clothes off and at the end thanking God for giving him those lyrics.  When we speak His name, but not His nature, we water down His holiness and no longer draw near or feel near, we just get more religious.  We like the God of love, but not the God of judgement.  A God of blessing, but not discipline.  We when offer all of ourselves, we discover through time that God is a God that draws near not in spite of His nature, but because of it.  That, is both beautiful and mysterious all wrapped into one.

“3I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you.  Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God.  No, God brings it all to you.  The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.”

Man’s way of dealing with a serious break in his relationship to God is to get more religious.  Religion is what I can do for God.  Kill more animals, make sacrifices, surrender your family at the alter.  This is man’s way of showing that they are a good Christian.  From this perspective,  religion desensitizes and inverts our perspective on God.  It allows us to feel “connected” when in reality we’re entirely “disconnected.”

Paul is addressing religion.  Paul isn’t saying to be more religious.  He’s addressing our relationship with God at a fundamental, primal level.  Am I merely practicing religion by attending Church, singing the songs, or are we developing a real relationship to God Himself?  At the heart of our relationship with God is living in the reality of what has done for US!

Pray on it!
As you go throughout your day - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, place it before God as an offering, asking God to come near.  “Embracing what God does for YOU is the best thing you can do for him.”  As Paul says, “fix your attention on what God has done for you and through that, he’ll change you from the inside out.”