Religion Can't Save You
I LOVE BIG WAVES. BUT I ALSO HAVE A HEALTHY FEAR OF THEM.
A LOT OF US GROW UP FEARING GOD. BUT NOT IN A HEALTHY WAY.
WE ARE TAUGHT THAT GOD IS ANGRY. THAT HE IS JUST WAITING TO GIVE US WHAT WE DESERVE.
OH, WE KNOW HE’S LOVING AND ALL AND WE QUOTE HOW HE “SO LOVED THE WORLD” IN JOHN 3:16. BUT SOMEWHERE IN THE BACK OF OUR RELIGIOUS MINDS, WE JUST KNOW THAT HE’S PROBABLY NOT TOO HAPPY WITH US.
WITH OUR BEHAVIOR. WITH OUR WORDS. WITH OUR THOUGHTS. SO, WE’D LIKE TO KEEP GOD AT ARMS LENGTH.
WE KEEP HIM THERE FOR WHEN WE ARE IN TROUBLE, BUT "LET’S NOT GET TOO CLOSE OR HE’LL SEE MY HEART."
HE’LL KNOW WHAT’S IN THERE.
HERE’S THE THING.
YOU CAN’T HIDE YOUR HEART FROM GOD.
HE ALREADY KNOWS WHAT’S IN THERE.
PSALM 139 says “1Lord, you know everything there is to know about me.
2You perceive every movement of my heart and soul,
and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.”
“3–4You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.
You read my heart like an open book
and you know all the words I’m about to speak
before I even start a sentence!
You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.
WHOA, THAT’S KIND OF SCARY. SOMEONE KNOWS EVERY THOUGHT OF MY HEART?! HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT HOW YOU’D FEEL IF EVERY IMAGINATION OF YOUR HEART WAS THROWN UP ON THE SCREEN IN TIMES SQUARE? I SURE WOULDN’T WANT MY THOUGHTS ON DISPLAY FOR ALL TO SEE.
WELL GOD SEES. BUT THAT’S ONLY SCARY IF WE DON’T REALLY KNOW GOD.
LOOK WHAT PSALM 103 SAYS.
“8Lord, you’re so kind and tenderhearted
to those who don’t deserve it
and so patient with people who fail you!
Your love is like a flooding river
overflowing its banks with kindness.
9You don’t look at us only to find our faults,
just so that you can hold a grudge against us.
10You may discipline us for our many sins,
but never as much as we really deserve.
Nor do you get even with us for what we’ve done.
11Higher than the highest heavens—
that’s how high your tender mercy extends!”
“13The same way a loving father feels toward his children—
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,You know all about us, inside and out.
You are mindful that we’re made from dust.”
SO HE’S NOT A BIG SCARY GUY WAITING TO BRING THE HAMMER DOWN ON US FOR FALLING SHORT?!?! APPARENTLY, LIKE A FATHER OF A TODDLER, HE EXPECTS US TO MAKE MISTAKES. "HE KNOWS THAT WE ARE BUT DUST". THAT'S REASSURING TO ME. HIS EXPECTATIONS OF US ARE LOW. HE DOESN'T WANT PERFECT. JUST OUR BEST.
BACK TO PSALM 139
5You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way,
and in kindness you follow behind me
to spare me from the harm of my past.
With your hand of love upon my life,
you impart a blessing to me.
6This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible!
Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.
SO THIS TO ME IS NOT A PICTURE OF A GOD WHO IS AN ANGRY, DISTANT BEING. TOO HOLY FOR US TO APPROACH.
AS IF OUR FEEBLE ATTEMPTS OF COUNTING BEADS, LIGHTING CANDLES, PENANCE, FASTING OR ANY OTHER RELIGIOUS RITUAL COULD MAKE GOD ACCEPT US.
NO THIS PAINTS A PICTURE OF A GOD WHO IS A LOVING FATHER WHO WANTS TO BLESS HIS CHILDREN.
WHO DISCIPLINES, BUT DOES NOT CONDEMN.
AND HE HAS MADE A WAY FOR US TO BE CALLED HIS SONS AND DAUGHTERS THROUGH PUTTING OUR FAITH AND HOPE AND TRUST FOR SALVATION IN HIS SON JESUS.