I am weary of endless traditions and rules. I am exhausted by the list of religious demands I must meet to prove my worthiness. I am done feeling like an outcast because I don’t fit the mold of a certain subculture.
Wear this. Don’t wear that. Worship this way. Listen to this music. Read this translation of the Bible. Take up this social cause. Train your children this way. Eat these foods, but not those.
Hear me out. I am not saying that these are bad things. I am not suggesting that we should do away with morality, social causes, modesty, etc.
I am saying that we were made for more.
There is a reason why religion alone doesn’t satisfy. Religion is a system of beliefs, a devotion to a divine being. God wants something different, something more.
I have spent my whole life with a religion that claimed to be a relationship. But the demands for external conformity betrayed religion’s intent.
Religion is incomplete. We need relationship.
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.” –Matthew 23:25 MSG
On the other hand, he reached out with compassion to those not accepted by the religious establishment.
“After this he [Jesus] went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them.
And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’
And Jesus answered them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.’” –Luke 5:27-32 ESV
The religious establishment was so wrapped up in their conformity to external rules, that they failed to see the greed in their hearts. They did not recognize their need to repent of their sins and failings.
I want to know Jesus in a personal relationship, not just through a system of beliefs. I don’t want to be fooled by adherence to moral rules and traditions. I want to see my heart as God sees it…sins, warts, and all. The humility of admitting my failures allows Jesus to cleanse me from that sin and give me a different life.
A life of freedom and fulfillment in Jesus.