In this new season, the Lord has instructed me “Come out of religion and refocus on Me.”
What is religion?
Earlier this year the Lord showed me that when we do anything regularly we’re in danger of doing it without any heart connection; and coming under a “religious spirit,” which is dead and lifeless. He challenged me that my weekly congregational attendance had become just that – a burden; dead and lifeless. Once I repented and put my focus back on loving God and loving People (everyone – Believer and Pre-Believer) I experienced such joy and life each time I joined my brothers and sisters in fellowship and worship.
So what does coming out of religion mean to me in this new season? I believe it refers to “…a particular system of faith and worship.” Each of us has built preconceptions about the systems of our faith and worship that have been influenced by our experiences. I think God wants to erase those experiential foundations, or at least the ones that aren’t pleasing in His sight.
The beautiful thing about new seasons, whether they come from a big move, a new year, or just a conviction in your heart, is that newness gives us the opportunity to make changes in our lives that can draw us nearer to God and His perfect plans.
Now don’t get me wrong. By “coming out of religion” I’m not talking about pulling away from the Body of Messiah in isolation. I believe it’s very important to gather as often as possible with God’s people for worship, fellowship, prayer and Bible study. By doing so we remain protected in the strength of the “flock.” And while no “flock” of humans is perfect, it also gives us opportunities to exercise real love, humility, grace and forgiveness; thereby making us more like Yeshua/Jesus in the process. But I think what the Lord is trying to show me is that there are “man made” traditions in our “religion” that actually separate us from God and People.
So what does coming out of “religion” look like? I’ve been letting God lead and teach me in that regard and here’s what I’ve come up with:
- Coming back to the simplicity of developing a hunger for God’s Presence, Love and Voice.
- Worship (devotion and obedience) to the Word of God as first priority; not to what we’re doing for God.
- Cultivating true bridal love and passion for God in our souls by spending time with Him.
- Lining up and participating with all of God’s Scriptural times and seasons.
- Acting in obedience to God’s Voice and Word even when we’re hurt or disagree; and in so doing, laying down our own opinions, thoughts, likes and dislikes, thereby cultivating true humility.
- Seeing/judging others through eyes of love and compassion vs. criticism and accusation.
- Desiring to grow in God’s spiritual gifts to build up the Body and bring unbelievers to Messiah, and ultimately to God.
- Seeking unity.
- Continuing to grow in our understanding of heavenly things; and knowledge of God.
- Truly being believers based on the Mark 16:17-18 definition.
- Demonstrating our position as Ambassadors of God’s Kingdom on earth, everywhere we go.
This morning I was reading Psalm 135 in the Passion Translation. Take a look at verses 15-18. These jumped out of the page to me concerning this topic.
“The unbelieving nations worship what they make. They worship their wealth and their work. They idolize what they own and what they do. Their possessions will never satisfy. Their lifeless and futile works cannot bring life to them! Their things can’t talk to them or answer their prayers. Blind men can only create blind things. Those deaf to God can only make a deaf image. Dead men can only create dead idols. And everyone who trusts these powerless, dead things will be just like what they worship – powerless and dead!”
God help us in the Body of Messiah to not worship what we make and idolize our work and what we do, even when we say we’re doing it for You! Open our eyes and our ears to You, God. Restore our passion for your Presence, Love and Voice. Help us walk in the simplicity of pure devotion to You; and give us life and power, as we put all our trust in You!
Other Scriptures for consideration:
2 Corinthians 11:3
1 Corinthians 12 – 14
2 Corinthians 5:18-20