Skipping out on religion

Their jobs were to be religious leaders and they were very good at it. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way most of them either lost or never made the connection between religion and following God. I’ve been going to church since my infant days so I know the routines, the churchy lingo, the dress code, and all the things religious people do. So I must ask myself- am I truly seeking to walk in the steps of Jesus or am I simply good at being religious?

In Matthew 23, Jesus spoke about the marks of a Pharisee-

“Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi’” Matthew 23: 5-7

Anyone in a position of leadership in churches- no matter how big or small- is susceptible to problems with pride because of the nature of our culture. I hold positions in the church that are very visible and I’m asking God to grow my speaking and blogging ministry for his glory. With those roles comes a battle against pride. I want to serve and walk faithfully in the roles God has brought my way without becoming an expert of religion and pride.

After first reading this passage yesterday, I began thinking on the truths there. Later in the day, I pulled on the headphones & sneakers to do something I’ve neglected too often of late- exercise. While pounding the pavement I listened to an Andy Stanley’s sermon. Part hit upon pride and how people don’t want to be around those filled with it. I thought to myself that either the Lord was trying to tell me something about my current behavior or preparing me ahead of time so I won’t choose that path. Either way, I’m listening Lord.

The Pharisees were very religious and enjoyed the honor their positions afforded them. In fact, they loved to highlight and bring attention to themselves so they made their phylacteries extra-large and their tassels extra-long. Yet they were so full of themselves, pride, and religion, they missed the fact that the Son of God- the Messiah they had studied about- stood right in front of them. They were too busy trying to trap and kill the very God they were supposed to be serving!

Lord, I don’t want to be good at being religious or filled with pride! Keep my focus on you. Keep my perspective godly. As I stand before our church or work to grow this ministry you have given me, keep me grounded in you. May I humbly walk with you rather that walk the way of the religious. Amen!

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