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Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Religious Oppose the Godly

Isaiah 29:13-14 (ESV)
13 And the Lord said:

 “Because this people draw near with
                 their mouth
      and honor me with their lips,
      while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a
                 commandment taught by men,
14 therefore, behold, I will again

      do wonderful things
                  with this people,
     with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men
                  shall perish,
and the discernment of their
     discerning men shall be hidden.”

Religious people oppose those who truly walk with the Lord. The acts of the godly just don't fit in with religion.

Religion wants to put God in a box. It wants to limit Him to certain things. It wants to develop tenets in which God can be manipulated. It majors on the form of faith rather than the relationship with God. They say their prayers and recite their scriptures but they do not expect (or maybe even want) an answer. Their worship is caught up in the act of worship rather than the one they are worshiping. They are like singers who are moved by their own singing. The emotions come from the song rather than what it means or who is listening.

Those who walk with the Lord are very different. They may not know all the books of the Bible nor can they recite the theme of most of the Bible books. They they have not tried to put God in a box so they do not know that there are things He won't or can't do. They pray with the knowledge that He may give a negative answer but they still believe He will answer. They worship God because they believe He is present. They speak to Him from their hearts. They may not know formal prayers which are said again and again.

Godly people will always disrupt the worship of the religious. Godly people will turn people away from mere religion. Religion often loses its power in the presence of godly people. The godly just don't perform the religion and religious people condemn the godly.

Thus, the Pharisees opposed Jesus. And religious people didn't stop there. Throughout the time when the Holy Spirit has dwelt among believers godly people have upset the apple cart of the religious. So, they have claimed that the godly had demons, were egregious sinners, were opposed to the church and worthy of death. Many have given their lives walking with their Lord. They were very often martyred by the religious.

I have always wondered if religion takes hold from a godly experience. People have a godly experience when they read a certain scripture so they believe that every time they read that scripture a godly experience will erupt. They continue searching for religious symbols which will provide pictures of their faith. These icons begin to be the object of worship rather than enhancers of worship. The actions of ritual take hold when they are done over and over so that, just like the pictures, the action becomes the worship rather than something that promotes worship.

Then, godly people don't follow the pattern of the religious. Some of the formerly religious people realize there is more to faith than rituals. They start an intimate walk with the Lord. The rituals begin to decay and the religious determine that it is time to squelch this rebellion. They attack the ones walking with the Lord. They try to discredit them by exaggerating their flaws and minimizing their good. They warn the other religious people. They tell of the stories slippery slopes when they can't make things bad enough. "Where will this lead us?"

Should those who seek to live godly lives be surpised? Not at all for the Apostle Paul wrote:

2 Timothy 3:12 (ESV) 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

So, rejoice if you are truly seeking to walk with your Lord and religious people are calling you nuts. It should be an indication that you are on the right track.

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