true religion

SCRIPTURE: Zechariah 7

OBSERVATION:
The people and their leaders thought that if they went through the religious exercises (offerings, worship, fasting, etc.) that God would be happy. But God makes it plain that what He wants is justice, mercy, compassion, good will towards others (this is what offerings, worship, fasting, etc. should be all about). He is not interested in showy religion, He wants changed hearts and lives. But the people refused to change. They were happy the way they were, and used religion to ease their conscience. But God was not impressed.

APPLICATION:
My focus at crossroads should not be offerings, buildings, programs, worship services, etc. My focus needs to be on justice, mercy, compassion and goodwill towards others. This is true religion, this is what God wants of us… of me. Doing minister duties is not my calling. Being a just, merciful, compassionate Jesus-follower is my calling. My task is to do this, and to help others do this.

How do I keep this as the focus of crossroads? We can become so church-focused, instead of kingdom-focused. Our hearts and minds harden into empty religious rituals, and we miss the whole point. A personal relationship with God through Jesus, and a Jesus-shaped life!

PRAYER:
Lord, it is so easy to get distracted by churchliness. I especially see this as a pastor. Keep my focused on You, and kingdom living. Push me hard in the area of living in a just, merciful and compassionate way.

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One Response

  1. How shall I live? To live for Jesus I must go to His Word. It is the Guide for my life. When I am happy or when I am sad, His Word tells me how to live. This passage almost sounds like the words from Micah, do justice, show mercy and compassion, help the fatherless, the poor and have no evil thoughts in your hearts. The people had completed the rituals over the years of fasting but did not have the Spirit of the Lord in their hearts. They were self-serving servants.

    Lord, give me the mind that hears Your voice. Lord give me the heart where You reign. Lord give me the hands that do Your will from day to day. This day and every day, Lord dwell within me and . . .

    Make me a servant
    Humble and meek
    Lord, let me lift up
    Those who are weak
    And may the prayer of my heart always be
    Make me a servant
    Make me a servant
    Make me a servant today

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