Colossians 2:8 – “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” NASU
I would encourage you to read through Chapter 3:2 and then read Ephesians 4:11-16 before you continue with what I am going to say or at least after you have read this devotional. Sometimes when I hear advertisements and pitches from preachers and churches I get the feeling that I’m hearing someone hawking a “fix” of some kind and a religious one at that. A few years ago I heard a preacher say that while he was in prayer the Holy Spirit spoke to his heart and said, “I hate the religiousness of the religious and I want you to resist giving or getting any more religious fixes.” I found that incredibly interesting and have since that time given it a great deal of thought.
I talk to a significant number of people who are turned off by the routine, form, and ritual of the little Sunday and Wednesday (or whatever day you choose) thing. We have a world at war today on so many levels and fronts and tragically too often we go to church to get our weekly “fix” and become insulated and inoculated from what is happening around us. I am convinced that many believers have misidentified the symptoms as being the battle and the result is frustration, disappointment, despair, disillusionment, and too often defeat. That for one who has spent his life in the work of the kingdom disheartening and causes me to cry out to go for answers.
We claim to have weapons of warfare that are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds and yet when we look around we see deterioration and decay. Too many confess that they are seeing little result therefore one can only conclude that something is wrong! Right? What have we missed? We have problems in our world and I refuse to deny it for I have learned that you never defeat a problem by battling the symptoms you have to get to the root cause for the cure. God has not called us to bring religiousness to our community but LIFE! Our destiny and purpose is to bring HEALING not just temporary relief. We are addressing the symptoms of discord, disunity, disagreement and more but not getting to the root cause – THE HEART! The battleground is INSIDE the cup not OUTSIDE.
We talk about the ‘gospel of the kingdom’ and seem to miss that it is not an event or a future but LIFE and that life here and now as well as eternity. Noah’s generation was a violent, do your own thing generation. It was a crime ridden violent hate filled generation much like ours. The Ark was a statement and place of safety it was a warning to a perverse generation. It was a covering and refuge. The early church did not march, demonstrate, picket or boycott nor did they isolate or insulate themselves from their world. They presented Jesus in word and deed and people’s lives were transformed. They turned their world upside down and traditional religion of that day hated them. We must move beyond ‘seeing the vision’ to ‘doing the vision.’ We have churches filled with people who are ensnared, filled with rejection, wounded and full of despair. We are a mess! Is there an answer? I believe there is! We are a consumer society in which people are trained and conditioned to ‘shop around’ looking for the best bargain, best product, best marketing campaign, and best appearance. In today’s modern world sound biblical preaching is often not enough and churches fall into the trap of trying to market their product to attract the shoppers.
Each church, pastor, leader, and member should honestly evaluate their focus, purpose, resources, commitment, vision and goal. Evaluate your effectiveness and if you find that you are focusing more on symptoms than the root cause, I would urge you to make that a matter of immediate and serious prayer! Lives are not changed truly by placing a religious salve on a wound but by having a change of heart.
May God be with you as you go through your day!