“Get smart! Your leaders are handing you a pack of lies and you’re swallowing them! Use your heads! Do you think you can rob, murder, have sex with all the neighborhood wives, tell lies nonstop, worship the local gods, and buy every novel religious commodity on the market–and then march into this Temple, set apart for my worship, and say, ‘We’re safe!’ –thinking that the place itself gives you a license to go on with all this outrageous sacrilege?” Jeremiah 7:8-10 (MSG)
This is not a typical post for me. But when I read those verses they cut to my very heart. How many times am I guilty of the same kind of hypocrisy that Jeremiah is ranting about?
I live however I want to all week long, get up Sunday morning, go to church, and I think I’m safe. Or how about this- I go to church, and I babysit the preschoolers during the second service? and I feed the homeless once a month. And I tithe, usually.
In Hosea 6:6, God says, “I desire love, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings.” This was the same problem Jesus had with the Pharisees. They followed all the religious rules, were very active in the local synagogue, but their hearts were far from God. I think many of them had good intentions. But God doesn’t ask us for good intentions. He asks us for our lives.
Imagine going to the doctor and saying, “I’ve got these weird red dots all over me. Can you help me?” After a quick examination, the doc says, “You’ve got the chicken pox. I’ll prescribe you a pill that will kill the infection inside you, and after time, the dots will disappear.” But you reply, “No, I don’t want the pill. I just want something for the red dots. I was thinking some calamine lotion, or maybe a jumbo pack of band-aids.”
We want God to heal us on the surface, the place everyone can see, and we don’t let Him into the place where the real infection is. We tell people, “After I got saved, I became a happier person. I understood I had meaning. I felt loved.” Those are great parts of salvation. But I think we’re missing something: Sin separates us from God. Jesus died and rose again so that in him we can defeat sin and be reunited with God.
God’s not interested in anyone following the rules for the sake of following the rules. He wants to get to the infection–the thoughts and beliefs that make us rebel–rather than just treat the red bumps.
Don’t you want to hear testimonies where people say, “Through God’s power I’ve been delivered from my addiction to pornography?” “Jesus took away my need to constantly compare myself to others.” “I used to avoid conflict in my marriage. But now that I’m a Christian, God’s been teaching me that my marriage is worth fighting for. I actually love my husband and my kids more than ever.”
I want to come to Jesus “as I am”, but I want to leave and be different. We will never be perfect this side of heaven, oh the freedom we could experience if we let God transform our souls from the inside out!
This guest blog was submitted by Lindsey Weber, a researcher, writer, editor on our team. Thanks Lindsey!