“I was cut deep to the heart as I read back over Mark 7 this morning. I was convicted of areas in my life that are still consumed by a religious, proud, and self-righteous spirit…”
In my “younger” days I used to describe my love, and devotion to God using the word “religious”. I’d say things like, “Oh, yes, I am VERY religious”, with a stern look on my face as if to make sure people knew how serious I was about this particular aspect of my life. I would also find myself pleased when I would get the opportunity to answer, “yes” to someone when asked, “Wow, you’re a pretty religious guy, huh?” Even as I type this I cringe at the thought that I actually used to be “proud” of the fact that I was religious. (Those two words are perfect partners)
These days I do everything in my power to tear down that false, or should I say OPPOSITE perception of what it means to be a passionate follower of Jesus. You see, Jesus DETESTED the religious; dare I say HE detests (present tense) a religious spirit? I get asked weekly about my “Religious Tattoos”. I used to hate it, but now I love every opportunity that I get to share about my love for Christ, and His lack of desire for me to be a religious person. I get to share about the freedom I have in Him, and the mission I get to be on FOR HIM that is birthed from my RESPONSE TO HIM for what He’s done for me. They hopefully walked away with a more clear understanding of the person of Jesus, and how HE ALSO seemed to have some “beef” with the religious people of His time.
I was cut deep to the heart as I read back over Mark 7 this morning. I was convicted of areas in my life that are still consumed by a religious, proud, and self-righteous spirit. It also caused me to think of the many ways I “just don’t get it” because religious tradition gets in my way. I am going to post some selected verses from chapter 7 of Mark that have been especially revealing, or got me thinking this morning. I would encourage you to read the entire chapter.
“…They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men…” (7:7-8)
“…And he said to them: ‘You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions…!'” (7:9)
“…Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that…” (7:13)
My hope here is that we may allow the words of Jesus to cut us deep as we think about the things we do out of man made tradition, which may hinder or slow the spread of the Gospel. For most of us these religious traditions or not done out of self-righteous pride, but rather out of a Gospel deficiency that we suffer from in some area of our lives. If you are offended by any of this then the scriptures may be attempting to burn away a religious spirit somewhere deep in your soul. (This scripture offends me often, and the religiosity that exists in my life shrinks little by little-praise Christ.)
What man-made religious practices come to your mind when you read this scripture?
What are some “modern day equivalents” of the Pharisees questioning Jesus and His disciples for not washing their hands before they ate?
How do our religious traditions (That may not necessarily be BAD) dangerously affect some of the core sacred practices of our faith? (Communion, Baptism, etc.)