Where religion ends

Human beings crave to have a plan. Something that tells them where they’re headed. But the best plan seems always that which comes from self… Well, because naturally, it is for
self.

That easily translates into churches today, where the idea, plans and programs of mankind are of utmost priority.

A spiritual leader once explained that the Holy Spirit would respect their church’s program and not allow for Him to disrupt them in their well-planned agenda. After all, God is all about order and structure, right?

It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.
(1 Kings 8:10-11 NASB)

The Bible also states it is OK for us to use our own brains of course; to plan things out (Pro. 16:9), but where it becomes dangerous is when we insist on our ways. This is when Christianity becomes a man-made religion.

You see religion, most probably, was never something God was totally against (Jam. 1:27). In fact, He orchestrated much of what happened in and around the Tent or Temple rituals. Until, of course, the people of God thought of sacrifice (or a worship service) to be more important than obedience (to God).

The first king of Israel, Saul, ran into that mistake and went ahead to do religion his way and according to his time schedule (1 Sam. 13:8-9) – not God’s. “Because I saw that the people were scattering from me…”, Saul said and his desire to appease people over God is still found in the hearts of spiritual leaders today. The only difference: They know how to better cover it up under false pretenses.

Then Saul said to Samuel, “I did obey the voice of the LORD, and went on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and have brought back Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the LORD your God at Gilgal.”
(1 Samuel 15:20-21 NASB)

Religion is a good place to start to find God, but if it gets in the way of God’s glory from filling the house of the Lord, that church building would become the saddest place on the planet, where people think they are safe singing their songs, communicating their messages, and basically just doing humanitarian work (serving human beings only).

I pray that many of these churches would realize where they are before God, just as Saul did: “I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.” – but hopefully with more authenticity and perseverance to repent it through until the end than Saul.

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