religious

Passing Through

The entourage of wise men who came into Jerusalem raised quite a stir as they begin to ask, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?”  This stirring reached as far as the king, and he also was troubled.  The king was so troubled about the possibility of another king rising up that he invited the wise men to speak privately about their quest to find this king.  Given the position of the star they followed and knowing the history of Jerusalem, it stood to reason the King of the Jews would be born there.  However, after the visit, they continued on straight through the religious center of Jerusalem.

Matthew 2:9-10 (CSB) 9 After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was — the star they had seen at its rising. It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overwhelmed with joy.

Unfortunately, too many people have stopped at the religious centers of men and have never found Jesus Messiah.  Perhaps they have mistaken activity and service as the personal relationship and fellowship with God. Still there are others who have passed right through unfazed by the rituals of religion to find the Living Hope.  Let me ask you, have you been held up at Jerusalem and bogged down with the heavy burden of religion?  How was it the wise men didn’t fall into the religious trap at Jerusalem?  They passed through the city because the One they were looking for was not there.  Be like the wise men, and by faith, keep going just a little bit further beyond religion to a relationship and fellowship with the King.  

Calloused Heart

Close-up of manual labor hands.

Don’t get this turned around.  The culture we live in is so backwards, and what I mean is that even believers in Christ become so sensitive to the world and so insensitive to God.  It’s more than political correctness, it is an insult to our Holy Father.  This really shows up in the last book of the Old Testament with several questions.  

  1. “I have loved you,” says the LORD. “Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?” —Malachi 1:2
  2. “A son honors [his] father, And a servant [his] master. If then I am the Father, Where [is] My honor? And if I [am] a Master, Where [is] My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ —Malachi 1:6

3.  “You have wearied the LORD with your words; Yet you say, “In what way have we wearied [Him?]” —Malachi 2:17

4.  “Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the LORD of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’ —Malachi 3:7

5.  “Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the LORD, “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ —Malachi 3:13

Those religious people had become insensitive, apathetic, or ignorant towards God, completely blind to their own relationship with God.  They were saying those insensitive things without saying them by the way they lived their lives and ignored the commandments of God.  The question is, how does a person become so insensitive?  The thought here is, if that happened to those people who built the second temple of God, it is highly possible it happens today as well.  Let me ask you, how sensitive are you to Almighty God?  Are you always defensive when He speaks trying to address an issue in your life?  We are all guilty!

You can become insensitive to God when you never examine what you offer up to Him.  The priest of that time allowed the people to sacrifice blind, lame, and sick animals to the Lord.  They allowed sacrifices to be offered that never cost them much.  I believe we do the same today. In fact, our sacrifices to God are not sacrifices at all.  We offer a blind song of praise completely disconnected with the One we are singing to.  We lamely tip God instead of giving an offering made in faith and with cheerful hearts.  

You can become insensitive to God when your hard experiences in life are not countered by close encounters with God.  

We naturally grow insensitive because of the world we live in.  The world develops callouses on our hearts that only God can remove and make tender again.  Our spiritual default is hardness, not tenderness. 

You can become insensitive to God if you never ask God to keep your heart tender towards Him.  What a challenge for us, but you can join me in asking God daily to keep your heart tender towards Him.  He can make you tender by crushing you with an experience that takes your breath away, but He prefers us offering our hearts to Him with a desire to please Him more than we please the world.  

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