VATIC Expressions: Truth, Transparency, Transformation
Volume 2, Spring 2016 Issue. A division of Vatic Publishing®, LLC.
My Relationship with Religion
by David Eagles
Ambiguity has the ability to throw us for a loop, especially in a day and age where advances due to our intelligence have left us less intelligent than we were before these “advances” (I know: sounds improbable, like "How could THAT even happen???", but it's the reality of our day).
While I was introduced to Jesus at an early age, I was introduced to church at that same early age, and I'm not sure which came first. When I say an early age, I mean EARLY: like dependent-infant early. My family attended a church that “had church,” but didn't have life: they were religious. So the older I became, and the more I thought I had learned and was learning about Jesus, I was actually just being steeped more into the ritual of how church "looks" and not how church "lives" (ignorantly, but nonetheless). This is a sad reality for a lot individuals, today, but it's not something that God purposed or intended; it's something that man, in the comfort of his flesh, has unfortunately come to enjoy: a knowledge of God without actually knowing Him (Rom.10:2).
Teaching people of and about the Church is in no way supposed to be absent of or separate from teaching people about Jesus. We've terribly tainted what God provisioned when we started separating, isolating, removing, including, etc.; we have been horrible keepers of that which was delivered to us, which is why the older I got, the more active sin became in my life. Don't get me wrong: the seed of righteousness had been planted and I knew what to do, I just didn't know how to do it. A religious church, full of religious folks, doesn't address sin; rather, they explain it away by making provision for it (Rom.13:14). But please hear me when I say: this gives NO ONE the right to have a problem with religion.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1:27
Don't hate the Creator, hate the games (wink).
The things I saw and heard (and did) growing up should have been enough to place me in a permanent state of paralysis concerning God and church; after all, I'd seen corruption and inconsistency from the top down and on both sides. Can you imagine, however, the enemy's disappointment when God ushered me into the Church he had prepared for me? A place that emphasized the importance of excellence in everything, from being on time and present to the way we spoke to each other, because we were doing so as unto the LORD?? A place where Jesus was exalted properly because sin was being addressed so that I would do more than simply exist, but live??? It wasn't religion that I had a problem with; it was being religious: oppression by religious spirits and an entertaining of the flesh due to my sin nature and lack of knowledge (Hos.4:6, Gal.4:8). Now, I was discovering that my life could do more than just look GODly; it could actually be GODly! So imagine, if you will, my chagrin and level of cringing when I hear this generation ignorantly decry religion in favor of "relationship.” You guys don't have a problem with "religion"; because your hearts are corrupt and you worship what makes sense to you, you have a problem with structure, discipline, accountability; all things religion provides. (And can we be quickly clear on something? While there are other beliefs out there, there aren't other religions: there are cults and there's CHRISTianity. Thanks.)
Let me prove your need for religion. How did you learn about salvation? Someone doing what religion told them to do. How do you learn about communion, holy days, tithing/giving (well, for some of us...smh)?? Religion. How do you learn what it takes to not only gain relationship with GOD, but to keep and grow that relationship??? You need a preacher, because you can't consistently hear without one. Hmm, sounds like church to me! Religion!
Guys, the culprit isn't The Church; it's what we've done, and haven't, to and in The Church; what we’ve allowed…what we haven’t taken a stand for. It's not religion you have a problem with, but if you do, please know that there are regulations (God has a way He wants things done) in Heaven just as there are in Church; why want to go there if you don't want to go here??? Duh!!! I have a relationship with religion because my relationship comes with religion (see what God did there??? Ambiguity!!!) If I don't know what it takes to know Him, then I won't and I'm easy prey. If I would have allowed the old relationship I had with religion to keep me, I would not know Him, today, and too many of us that profess to know Him, today, have no clue as to Who He is and how He operates, which is a reason we have so many bogus and erroneous prophecies floating throughout the land: how are you going to know somebody's voice that you NEVER spend time getting to know (don't get me started!!!)??? Ahh, but those are things that we learn as a part of relationship. Religion can get you there IF you really want to go. Love y’all….
© 2015 David Eagles