Even without religion, God is. There’s something I’ve been meditating on, trying to get an understanding and revelation about. The process of our growth in God, how we come into a relationship with Him, how we mature or grow through that relationship, whether or not it’s defined, and what it means to be right with God.
Religion has been a way to understand these things and to control or regulate others in conformity to a standard. But even without religion, God is.
I think of Enoch, who had no book to tell him of the Lord and His wonderful works, but he walked with God. He certainly wouldn’t have had perfect understanding, ideology, theology or even experience. But he was doing something right. He recognised God and realised and accepted his dependency on Him, and so he chose to seek Him out and rely on Him.
I think of myself. A child born with an awareness of God, but who somehow has stumbled in and through religion all my life. Through it all, it has been God I’ve been chasing, and trying to follow. I’ve fallen down, made some huge mistakes, questioned my Faith, wondered if I’d finally broke the camel’s back and done enough for God to slam the doors of Heaven to me…
But through all this, God reached out to me and encouraged me. My theology wasn’t perfect, yet He led me. My practice was and is lacking, yet He ministers to me. And there are things I can no longer doubt about Him. Primarily, I can’t doubt how much He loves me. I no longer fear losing that love…I only fear being wrong.
By this I mean, even when we are wrong, God loves us. He doesn’t love us because we are right. Because we get it. Because we are perfect. Right where we are, covered in sin, ignorance and filth, He loves us. And that’s the ONLY way and reason the unbelieving can ever become saved. Through this grace. Because right where they are God ministers to them too!
They are on their journey. We are all on our journey. But I don’t want to be wrong because being wrong is painful. It’s misery. It’s a waste of time, life and opportunities. It’s just unprofitable. And when you’re wrong, it can take a long time for you to realise it, admit it and decide to turn around and be right… But I know that even when I am wrong, God is rooting for me and working to help me get right…again.
Religion is good when it trains you in righteousness. When it is a mirror that you look into to see where you are, so you can make corrections and changes. It’s good for keeping fellowship with like-minded souls, who can encourage and inspire you. But often, it can be a problem too. Cos when it’s wrong, it’s wrong!
It’s very hard to change the dictates and beliefs of religion. Because it’s not simply a person’s mind that would be changing, but a whole system, made up of the minds of many who agree. It is painful to change or transform such. They usually abide as they are, in error, still enjoying the grace of God, but wrong.
In such a situation, the religion stands in opposition to God, in the way that it hinders men from growing in God. In coming to know Him intimately. Because the religion has become a boundary or a limit to how far their minds are willing to comprehend. That’s what happened to the Jews. Their religion became the opposition to faith in their Redeemer, Jesus Christ. But God is still working on those who remain there. He is. Despite religion.
Don’t let the medium through which you came to know God, through which you once flourished in God, be the thing that hinders you from CONTINUING in God. God has more for you. He has prepared a heavenly place for you, which you will only get to if you continue to grow in Him and follow Him. Don’t be comfortable being wrong, just because God is gracious.
Love yourself enough to want God’s best for you. He’s not about religion. He’s about relationship. Religion is a tool, but even without religion, God is.
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