This morning I was reading the Book of Isaiah and I read chapter 1:10-20. What struck me from this passage is how God expressed his distaste for his people just going through the motions i.e. appearing to do the right things but not having the right heart/motives or doing things for their own benefit and not for God’s purpose. This is what I call ‘being religious’.
“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.
“When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.”
In today’s (New Testament) world, we believe that God no longer requires us to offer animal sacrifices, but this has actually always been the case as we see in Psalm 51: “The Sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken spirit and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” What God really wants is for us to engage with him with ALL our hearts.
The whole of Isaiah chapter 1 is a call we all need to heed to, but I found it compelling and convicting as I know sometimes in my life, I can go through the motion myself and not do things with all my heart. I believe this distinguishes a true worshiper from a religious person according to my definition.
How can I solve this? Maybe we all need to be asking ourselves a question regularly “Am I just being religious?”
How might we know if we are? These 5 signs below came to my mind:
- You tell people you’ll pray for them but you never do
- You are more concerned about other people’s sin when you have obvious sin in your own life but don’t address it.
- You read your bible regularly but rarely get any insight or don’t apply anything either.
- Your passion for God has faded and you know this because days or even weeks have gone by and you haven’t thought about Him
- You are not intentional about doing ‘good’, seeking justice or helping the oppressed. (Vs 16-17)
As I answer these questions for myself, I realise that I can easily just be a religious person, hence, the need to consciously and continuously reflect on God’s abundant love for us by seeking his kingdom and making the Kingdom of God our primary concern and be in a community of people that are doing likewise.
This is the very purpose of this website.
Are there other ways you might detect if you are just being religious?
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