No Substitutes

Harvey Heneveld

READ : Jeremiah 7:1-11

Israel’s problem was not that she wasn’t religious. Israel was very religious! The people boasted of the beautiful temple where they worshiped, and they recited the liturgy of worship flawlessly. Nor was Israel’s problem that she wasn’t interested in spirituality. The people were very interested in spirituality. They explored all the avenues of spiritual expression, whether it was to Baal, other gods or the Lord.

But God saw through their religious rituals, their empty words and their interest in general spirituality. God would not allow Israel to substitute anything in place of a personal relationship with Him.

It is popular today to be “spiritual.” It does not seem to matter if your spiritual interests take you in the direction of eastern religions, New Age, Islam or traditional Christianity. What only seems to matter is that you “practice your religion.”

Being religious can be a dangerous thing! We can allow it to become a substitute for a personal relationship with the God who created us, loves us and came to redeem us in Christ. When this happens, it is wrong, even if it appears to be spiritual. Are you trusting in rituals and experiences of spirituality, rather than in the Lord God? When you worship and pray and do other spiritual things, is your heart in them? God will not allow anything to substi tute for Him!

PRAYER

Help us move beyond being religious to being in love with You, Lord. Thank You, Father, for loving us. Amen.