|not mine; from the Seattle P-I….Golden Gardens|
Yeah, I said that.
I found this out in a most humbling way.
The other night my husband and I were finally catching up with the conclusion of The Bible TV series–the Easter episode–Jesus’ trial, crucifixion and resurrection.
I was exclaiming throughout the program at the atrociousness of the High Priest Caiaphas’ behaviour. The one kind of ‘in charge’ Hebrew guy who berated and railed against Jesus’ proclamation to be King of the Jews.
“Blasphemer!” he called him. “He says He’s God. We have only one God, that is Caesar.”
And this from a man who prayed daily, worshiped in the temple, knew the Scriptures (Torah) of the day.
Jesus, the Messiah, was standing right in front of him and he preferred over and over again to believe his way of life and myriad rules were the Way, rather than trust that this something new–a new kingdom with a new King–could be the way of freedom God had planned.
Because if Jesus’ words were true then every piece of the foundation Caiaphas had built would have to be imploded, every lie he’d been looking to for salvation would have to be shed, every wrong way of thinking would have to be acknowledged as futile, faulty, fatal.
And he’d rather die than change.
God made sure soon after that Caiaphas’ (and many others’) way of life was turned upside down and shattered in bits.
When Christ breathed his last on the cross, the ensuing earthquake sent pottery flying, people scrambling and buildings tottering. The veil into the holy of holies was rent in two, that most sacred place only Caiaphas had access to, and now it would be open to everyone.
Because of this Saviour.
How in the world could he not see this Messiah was who He said he was?!
Perhaps Caiaphas realized the error of his ways, the lies that trapped him, the strongholds that were his religion broken at last. We’ll never know as history and God’s word do not tell us.
But could the character of Caiaphas have something to tell me? It wasn’t just a nice part of the story–God uses all of his Word to speak to us–what did he want me to hear?
The next afternoon I went out to my deck for my alone time with God and it hit me, “Jody, you’re just like Caiaphas.”
“Wow……how, God?” (We have conversations like that.)
“You’re married to your rules–your ways of doing things.
Look at the books you think you have to read.
They’re full of voices that speak truth but they are not my Word.
Look at the ‘have to’s’ you make for yourself–
“I have to memorize this Scripture, I have to have devotions,
I have to read this Chapter in the Bible.”
“I have to write this blog post.” Ouch.
“It’s all religion. Dead works.
“I’m calling you to ME, seek Me, my presence, my power. Listen to my voice.
Give up your religious ways and turn to me. Be devoted to me.”
Just like Caiaphas I have some tradition. I’ve been a Christian for over 40 years; I’ve walked this way long enough to get trapped in my own way of doing things.
I’ve become comfortable with how I think God should work and what Jesus should say.
I’ve got it all figured out, thank you.
But God is beginning to shake all those old foundations and build something new.
I’m hearing little whispers of the freedom that comes with abandoning myself to God’s ways, being quiet enough to listen to what He says.
Slowing down long enough to shut up and find the joy that comes with surrender, the peace that comes with silence.
And the joy that comes with just Jesus……….nothing else. Yes, religion stinks.
But an open, surrendered, abandoned relationship with a Redeemer?
I want that.
How about you?
where she writes about pretty much the same thing………
missing Jesus when He’s right in front of us
14 thoughts on “Religion Stinks”
I like being rather settled, so God and I have lots of conversations about how He likes to shake things up…. Ultimately, I am very thankful for a Father who makes all things new… but sometimes, the process is so uncomfortable for me. You think I would get more used to it after walking with Him for so long, but noooo… I am a slow learner.
Loved this post. It was a very good word. Thanks for sharing it. 🙂
Jean, you put it well. I'm feeling that, too. Thank Godfor Hispatience with us 'mature ones.'
Thanks for stopping by.
I really like how you wrote this post.
“I've walked this way long enough to get trapped in my own way of doing things.” Yep that is me too.
The last few years I feel like I am in a new country spiritually, new language, disoriented – all the rules are changing. I know God is with me but what a wild adventure we are on together
Dear Jody Lee
I see we both were taught the same lesson by our Pappa recently! Yip, we are chips of the same block. But He is sooo patient and teaches us the same lesson again and again until we finally learn. These things are dead works INDEED!
Visiting via Michelle's.
Much love to you
So true…we need grace every day to live out His freedom…btw…I love the photo…how did you get that shot???
Jen, you are right–Jesus, help me never settle for 'good enough.'
Thank you, friend. It's hard to let go and trust Him. Praise God for his patience and everlasting love.
ohhhhhhhhh, our Pastor talked about 'Impossible Faith' yesterday from John 6 and reminded us all our walk with Jesus is impossible if we just lean on ourselves. Now I've said it out loud–God give me grace to hear it again each day!
Jody- What conviction and vulnerability! Thank you for this intimate glimpse into your conversation with God…I really appreciate you and your heart for Him and freedom! I want to shout Amen! Let it be!
It is so easy to get stuck … good words, Jody.
Wow — this is good. I rejoice that He cares so much about us that dead works aren't good enough for Him even though they seem good enough for us.
Lisa, you're so sweet. I just want to keep walking in the freedom of being close to Him. Thanks–you're always such an encourager.
This has just officially become one of my favorite posts of yours, Jody. I know I still have “too many things figured out” but by the grace of God I'm trying to hold them looser so I can hold on tighter to His hand.
Powerful! Keep us posted!