Monday, February 7, 2011

HOPE FOR TODAY: What if our Religion has it all Wrong?

“You . . . will say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets’ . . . but he will say ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’” (Luke 13:26-27) Jesus was speaking to a large crowd telling them that one day many of them might be surprised to find they had it all wrong.

In the United States today there are many different religions. The big ones people identify themselves with, according to a Pew Forum on Religion & Public survey, are Protestant Christians (51.3%), Catholics (23.9%), Mormons (1.7%), Jews (1.7%), Atheists (1.6%) and Muslims (.6%). Clearly, the majority of U.S. citizens are religious, even the atheists. They are their own god.

Why are so many of us religious? Maybe we were born with an inclination to worship just like we were born with a desire to eat and drink. In our house of worship we may enjoy the feeling of community, helping others and learning. Our religious exercises may bring a sense of hope, a peace and security. Perhaps we even find some ease with the guilt we bear and helpful counsel for the challenges of our life. This appears good, but is that the overall purpose of our chosen religion or respective form of worship?

What if we got it all wrong? What happens if five minutes after we die the self-professed Christian, Catholic, Mormon, Jew, Atheist and Muslim all go “Oops!” Obviously, it is too late then. Now is the time to begin questioning our faith so we face our future with confidence and not fear or doubt.

Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) Well, what is the will or desire of the God of heaven? It is to love Him and love others. How do you love God? You love Him by obeying His commandments and believing in His only Son, Jesus. Through God and His mission for us do we find who we were created to worship.

Do not be among that number who will be eternally disillusioned five minutes after their last breath. Turn from your attempts at being religious. Discover what it means to know God personally through Jesus. Go beyond rituals to a relationship. Go beyond good deeds to a life transformed and on mission with God. Go beyond knowing about God to walking with Him moment by moment. Before it is too late, lay the title deed to your life down at the feet of the one who made you. Follow Him and embrace His hope for you today.

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