Friday, February 12, 2016

What Has Religious Thinking Done To Us?

When it comes right down to it, we are lazy. We are always looking for short cuts, ways to get the best results with minimum effort. It is the reason so many of us are overweight. Why put the effort into a good home made meal when a simple phone call will take care of it. Then we look for the easiest solution to getting rid of our fat, which never works. But we like thinking we are trying when we are actually avoiding the real work of change. We really don't want to change.

This is how we also develop a religious thinking mind.

A relationship with Jesus takes effort, as any honest relationship does. It takes time, study, thinking, conversation, a willingness to be honest, a willingness to confess our wrongs, to change and be changed. It requires passionate worship and a constant bending our knees to the Master's will. It requires a daily understanding that we no longer belong to ourselves but belong fully to the one we want to emulate. That is the hard way but the right way.

Religious thinking tries to take a short cut. Why put in all that effort for relationship when we can make a bunch of rules and follow those. It is easier to conform to set rules of do's and don'ts when everything is neatly presented and we can lean on, never really having to deal with any of the messy stuff that gets swept under the carpet of religion. It's also easier to apply these laws to other people, telling them exactly what they are doing wrong.

But compassion is lost in religious thinking, even though everything that Jesus did for us is rooted in his compassion for us. Rules are rules, regardless. We can see that mindset so often in the gospels as Jesus faced opposition from the most righteous people of his day.

In one example, Jesus was a guest in the home of a Pharisee. It was the Sabbath but a man who needed healing was present. Amazing how that was arranged. Jesus never backed down from doing what was right according to the compassion of Father:

"Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, 'Does the Law allow healing on the Sabbath or not?' But they said nothing. Jesus took hold of the sick man, cured him, and then let him go. He said to them, 'Suppose your child or ox fell into a ditch in the Sabbath day. Wouldn't you immediately pull it out?' But they had no response." (Luke 14:3-6)

Of course not, because what response can the religious give in the face of Jesus' great compassion for those who are victims of the enemy's work. The real question for us is, are we willing to see where we have allowed the dispassionate religious thinking to cover over the great compassion of our God.

Too many of us have robbed Christianity of the power that was given us through the Holy Spirit; power to destroy the works of the enemy, to put the enemy to flight, to see real change happen under the power and authority of God; the power to see real change in the mind, heart and bodies of people.

The lazy answer is to say that God no longer works like that, even though there is no evidence in the Scriptures to support such a lie. But why get messy by all this business of God's manifestation in this world when we can be satisfied with a tidy religious life. It is easier to be lazy and religious than to be active and alive in the Spirit. Let the world heal itself.

Happy are the servants whom the master finds fulfilling their responsibilities when he comes. (Luke 12:43)

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