Are you playing house?
18Don’t tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They’re a lot of hot air, that’s all they are.
Immediately I set myself apart from these people, because I’m not like that. O no, my friend. I don’t walk around boasting of the spiritual experiences I’ve had or didn’t have. I don’t compare myself to others talking about the many visions I’ve had, or how loudly God has spoken to me, or how many miracles I’ve experienced. That is spiritual arrogance and certainly not part of real religion. My religion is not plastic and I don’t play at religion.
But looking from the other side I wonder if this is really true. Am I really serious about my religion in the way I serve God? Yes, I do know that I don’t do what the guys in verse 18 did. But am I serious about my religion? Why am I going to church? How intimate is my relationship with God? What am I looking for in my religion? Why, when I’m with some people, I tell different jokes from when I’m with others? Am I playing house and only playing at religion?
Every now and then we need to come to a standstill and make sure that we’re on the right road. We so easily become used to the road we’re rushing along. We have to stand back and check whether we’re still going the right way.
True religion comes from deep inside. Listen to verse 19: They’re completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ … True service to God is not measured in the length of your prayer or the degree of your spirituality for other people. No, true religion is measured in terms of relationships. The answer to the question: “Do you really know Jesus?” is crucial.
I know my wife. I know the way she does things. I know her so well that there are many things we don’t even need to discuss, because I already know how she feels about them. This is only possible in an intimate relationship. We are part of each other’s worlds and lives every day and spend a lot of time together.
I was helping a man who has made a few wrong choices in his life. His eyes filled with tears. I could see how he regretted those wrong choices and the bodies left behind. He was really trying hard to make the right choices, but for one reason or another he often chose wrong.
Discouraged he cried out: “How can I make the right choices? How can I stop choosing wrong?” I didn’t respond, because I knew he already knew the answer.
“I should probably make Jesus more of a part of my life,” he said eventually.
Yes, yes and yes! I want to call out. Because when we really get to know Jesus in an intimate relationship, his influence in our lives become a reality. Then we learn what God’s will is and obey it. Then we recognise Jesus’ voice, which helps us to make the right choices.
Then we’re not playing at religion, but serve God wherever we go. Then we know what choices to make at the crossroads in life. We know Jesus and know what He would’ve done. And if our religion is not just a habit, our relationship with Jesus changes our whole life.
What do your choices look like?
Do you practise religion or do you have an intimate relationship with Jesus?
How can you improve your relationship with Jesus?
Father, I long for an intimate relationship with Jesus. I know I have to spend more time with Him and involve Him in every moment of my life, because that is the answer to making the right choices. Amen.