The Lord says:
“These people worship me with their mouths,
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship is based on
nothing but human rules.
So I will continue to amaze these people
by doing more and more miracles.
Their wise men will lose their wisdom;
their wise men will not be able to understand.” Isaiah 29:13-14 (NCV)
Their worship is based on nothing but human rules. (NCV)
They act like they’re worshiping me but don’t mean it. (MSG)
Their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote. (NLT)
Their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning]. (AMP)
Their ‘fear of me’ is just a mitzvah – [a good deed performed out of religious duty] – of human origin. (CJB)
Their religion is nothing but human rules and traditions, which they have simply memorized. (GNT)
Their worship of Me consists of man-made traditions learned by rote; it is a meaningless sham. (VOICE)
I recently had a conversation with a friend of the family about faith. He told me that he hates religion. Being a nonbeliever, I think he was trying to bait me, hoping I would get offended by his comments, so he could prove that Christians (or at least me) are hypocrites.
My response: I hate religion too. (I think he was a little shocked, never expecting such words to come from the mouth of a missionary).
To make myself clear…I LOVE Jesus. Being in relationship with a Heavenly Father, a Holy Trinity who loves me with an everlasting love is life-altering. My faith in Him gives me the ability to have compassion for the people society has rejected deeming them unworthy with no more value than heaped trash. My belief in Him has allowed me to witness miraculous transformations and partake in the changing of lives, of destinies.
I decided at the beginning of my journey with God that it could never be about “Christianese” and being holier-than-thou. I want ‘real’ and ‘relevant’ instead of artificial rituals. I need the Word of God to come alive, not just be lifeless sentences in an ancient book. I desire a five senses, experiential knowledge of the Savior who gave His life for me. I crave relationship over religiosity, freedom opposed to a ball-and-chain.
If I am going to follow Jesus it has to be a full-on commitment rooted in Him, one where He is seamlessly integrated into my life from morning to night: When I sit. When I walk. When I push my daughters on swings or run to stop my oldest from running into the street. When I lie down. When I rise. When I am bleary eyed and exhausted. When I am washing dishes and folding mounds of laundry. When life is a cake walk. And, when it is a scary, chaotic mess.
My commitment to worship my King originates from my heart, from the created to the Creator. It is initiated by love and longing, not by unattainable rules created by fear, overcomplicated regulations created by man to foster guilt and condemnation.
And so, I choose to worship with adoration Father, who offers me an easy yoke and a light burden. I choose to worship with reverence Son, who beckons me to come and grants rest. I choose to worship with devotion Holy Spirit who gives helps me and produces the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in my life. (Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:16-17; Galatians 5:22-23).
Yesappa, help me to never turn to rules and regulations, to traditions instead of to You. Help my worship be true, and worthy of Your Glory. Help my heart stay close to Yours; write my name on Your palm and mark me with Your seal upon my forehead. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.