Friday, April 17, 2009

Extreme Christians

Jesus hated overly religious types. People that dressed a certain way but neglected relationship. I mean he really really hated them. In fact I can think of no other group of people that Jesus hated more than self righteous,inflexible,obstinate,religious conservatives.

Jesus called these guys hypocrites 5 times in one chapter. He also called them blind guides,blind fools and blind men. As if that wasn't enough, on top of that He called them children of hell and pronounced 7 woes upon them.

I could easily see my home falling into this trap of looking and living a certain way but neglecting relationship with Him. We homeschool, are faithful to church, carefully consider our giving, we dress a certain way, have daily family devotions, we are by most standards very very religious.

Like He told the Pharisees its not that we shouldn't carefully consider how we serve Him, its just that we should not leave the weightier matters undone...namely justice and mercy. Jesus using obvious sarcasm used the example of straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

I want to cultivate relationship with Him. God. Your love.Your mercy.Your Word.Your grace.Your Spirit.You You You.

Did you know that Jesus Christ talked about His Kingdom and about serving others (namely the poor) more than any other subject? Him/Others. Him/Others. Him/Others. Relationship. Relationship. Relationship. He wanted us to learn how to love and serve Him and others. This is the ongoing theme of the entire Bible. The greatest commandment is to love God and the second greatest is to love others.


  1. You know, Sis. C., I really, really love your blatant honesty. When you can allow yourself to be closely scrutinized as you do, you build up the trust of your readers.

    You are absolutely right, once again, in this post. I do not want to be a self righteous hypocrite because I hold extremely conservative religious views (views that I consider extremely important, but in itself will NOT save me). I am learning that I am not content unless I serve others MORE. (Besides having a true, heartfelt relationship with Jesus Himself, first). Truthfully, I think there are a lot of discontent, conservative Christians, because we have forgotten the importance of loving and serving others.

    Thank you again, for provoking my thoughts.....

  2. Paul speaks on this subject and it does us good to eat the strong meat of the Word of God.
    "Sounding brass..." Might shine from a distance like gold, but does it pass the test of fire?

    God bless you,

  3. Again, wonderfully put. This is so true.

    In prayer recently, I just started talking to God about life, my personal struggles and so on... it wasn't a big elaborate prayer about His outstanding majesty, holiness etc etc, just a one on one conversation. It was the most refreshing thing, but I feel many people are losing out on that now, even within the Apostolic faith... that one on one personal contact with God is what really preserves our faith in Him.

    Standards, "rules" (dare I say!), and personal convictions are all secondary to true faith in Him. It becomes a natural thing once that Relationship with Him is grounded and maintained. Otherwise, why are we abiding by the standards taught? For our own self righteousness? For the pastor? For those around us?

    Very though provoking post. God bless you!

  4. Rachel summed it up beautifully and succinctly ...

    Standards.... become a natural thing once that Relationship with Him is grounded and maintained.

  5. Thank you ladies for all the comments. Your thoughts mean so much to me.

    Honestly, I have had a tendency towards legalism in my relationship with God for many years. Always calculating my every move. Trying to earn His love and acceptance, I think I have relaxed and learned so much about love and relationship with God instead of law law law rules rules rules. I feel like my move toward grace has absolutley been one of the single most beautiful things God has allowed me to learn...ahem...learning...:-)

  6. Awww to stay close to the Lord!! I think that in the end relationship will matter much more than perfection. I just heard a wonderful message about the most dangerous place a person can be in. It is not sin, &, no, no...but Standing as though we are righteous & have no need of God. Or acting as though everything is fine...when really we are in great need. Lord please deliver me from hipocracy & launch me into a deeper relationship with you!!

    Thanks for this cut to the chase post!

    lv & blessings!

  7. Graceful Threads: I couldn't help but keep going back to your comment "Trying to earn His love and acceptance". This is something that I recently got a sincere revelation of, and still believe that God is helping me to learn. There is absolutely nothing in the world that I could ever possibly do to EARN His love and acceptance. Who am I to believe that I could do some human act so great that it would be enough to have earned his Grace, Love and Acceptance?

    This is a scripture that keeps coming to mind that comfirms my belief that He is looking for so much more than ritulaistic behavior. (Which, believe it or not, we Apostolics are very guilty of... it's not just the Catholics!)

    Luke 18:8 - I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

    That's what God is looking for. Faith!

    Here's the next few verses of that same chapter that I find very revealing.

    9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

    10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

    11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.

    12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.'

    13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!'

    14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

    Very much enjoying reading all the comments... God bless!

  8. I loved all the comments on this post. Thanks for all of your input. Wish more people understood that God is more than shirt sleeve length, skirt length, etc. More than any of that, God desires a relationship with us. Who gives man the right to judge the inward vessel by a mere glance at the outward? Who is righteous according to the Bible? There is none righteous, no not one. Jesus knew this, and that is why He told the men who wished to stone the adulterous woman, "He who is without sin, cast the first stone". They all walked away. Straining at a gnat, swallowing a fly! The Bible is what will judge us in the end. Whatever happened to good Godly works to others? Whatever happened to showing the compassion, love, and generosity toward others? Whatever happened to 'love your enemies and pray for those who dispitefully use you'? Is there a 'beatitude famine' in the so called 'extreme Christian' land? (Matthew 5:3-10 lays out Christlike behaviors and attitudes.) Lord help me to have a deeper relationship with you!