Welcome to Day 21 of our 40 Day countdown to Easter 2019. Religion or Righteousness: Whose Standards Will You Choose? There was a day when Jesus was faced with the decision to heal a man on the Sabbath or keep Jewish law to do no work. Luke 6 describes that moment. Jesus asked the man with a withered hand to stand up, in front of the religious leaders. In verse 9, He then asked them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?" No one answered. They just stood there waiting to see what He would do next. Against the expectations of the religious leaders, He healed the man. What's interesting is how they reacted. Verse 11 says, "they were filled with rage, and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus."
It's hard to believe that those religious leaders would have chosen evil and destruction over doing good and saving life. What's equally shocking, is they expected that contradiction to be acceptable in the sight of God. This is a frightening deception! When you can't decipher the difference between righteousness and religion, you're on a slippery slope and need deliverance. If a so-called leader promises righteous backlash because you choose to love those God loves, you're dealing with religion, not righteousness.
Understanding the true will of God is often complicated by religious rules that look like and sound like His will. Compounding the confusion, is that this generation is questioning societal norms more and more every day, but are given religion instead of righteousness.
In Mark 7:7,13, Jesus explained it this way ~ he said, "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."
With those words in mind, if we want to see the brokenhearted healed, recovering of sight for the blind and deliverance of the captives, it's time that we forsake the religion of man and follow the righteous heart of God.
REMEMBER A FEW RULES
1. We need a personal relationship with God. If you really want to know the will of God, you'll find it in a sincere relationship with Jesus. In other words, get to know Jesus and you'll also understand the genuine will of God ~ for your life and for others.
2. When you encounter a standard that contradicts the the heart of God, the standard is wrong. Reject the standard (law) and Receive God's standard (freedom in Christ Jesus).
3. It's only AFTER doing what Jesus is doing, that you'll truly understand the will of God.
4. If others become angry with you because you are following the will of God, you are doing the right things.
5. No matter how right religious and humanitarian rules look or sound, don't be afraid to "rock the boat"! That's the moment to let your light shine for Jesus...seize the moment!
Our society has suffered enough damage at the hands of religious rules that look and sound like the will of God, but are not. Only those who develop a personal relationship with the Lord and recognize the truth will make the difference we need.
Lord, I can see the difference between religious practice and real love for mankind. I forsake ritual in favor of righteousness. Help me find the courage to rock the boat with sound doctrine and the anointing that will put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Let my worship always be sincere, personal and enlightening. Today, I choose Your righteous standard that always lead to freedom in Christ Jesus.
In Jesus's name, Amen!
Inspiring Hope and Seasoning Faith, Pastor Sean