The crux of religion is always “do”…it is a performance based relationship to God that always weighs a person down or as the word religion means “binds them”. The answer is simple, you can never do enough, never pray enough, never read the Bible enough, never tithe enough, never be at c
hurch enough etc. And even if you do fulfill a man-centered, self-imposed law all that springs up is a spiritual pride that smells just like a modern day Pharisee.
So what does God want? Simply You. He died for you, He lives to make intercession for you, His Spirit searches the deep things of you…He wants you! When the world looks upon someone on that “do” treadmill they must see our God as weak and feeble needing humans to do for Him and unfortunately many in the church give just that impression. They say that God is omniscient and omnipotent but have the mindset that God needs them to fulfill something. That is a lie from the pit.
God does not need us to do anything (Acts 17:25) , in fact in Him we live and breath and move (Acts 17:28) and without Him there would be less then nothing. The truth is that we get to partake in the divine life (2Pe 1:4) of Christ living in us (Col 1:27). So then with this in m
ind what does God want, what is eternal life…Union with Christ – a relationship.
Joh 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
As we spend time with Him and get to know Him and understand who we are in Him, this
born again (John 3:3) new creation (2Co 5:17) of God we begin to see the vastness of His love (Rom 8:39) and our identity in Him (Gal 2:20). As we trust in Him (Prov 18:24) by faith (Rom 14:23) our intimacy increases and thus our character becomes more like Christ (2Co 3:18). What a wonderful plan, what a wonderful Savior.
Yet what we have done is to live in unbelief and have desired to do things the world’s way instead of God’s way. We live in a world plagued by PBA (performance based acceptance) and have now brought that way of living right into the church. It falls right into line with the devil’s plan which is to steal, kill and destroy the life of Christ in us and falls right into line with our religious desires – to be accepted by God based on our performance. Even many who understand salvation is of grace and not works (Eph 2:8-9) still can find themselves back under this “law of doing good” instead of “living the life of Christ in us”. They want to do good (Rom 7:15) and willingly put themselves back on that law (Col 2:23) of performance based acceptance instead of living a life of walking after the Spirit. (Rom 7:6)
What kind of relationship would I have with my wife if all I did is to try and please her by my “doing” and lacked the personal intimacy that comes from just being with her? At first she may find it great and rewarding but over time she would just want me to sit and talk with her, to give her time to share her soul (thoughts, will and emotions) and for me to do the same…to be still (Psa 46:10). God promises that we will hear Him (Joh 10:16) and know Him (Joh 17:3) and be moved by Him (Psa 32:8) and He will cause us to walk in His ways (Eze 36:27). Too much of our activity is being done “for the Lord” instead of “with the Lord”, this in turn brings strife, aggravation, a sense of never being fulfilled instead of the promised rest (Mat 11:28) that is found in Him.
The Pharisees found themselves in this same predicament. They were the ultimate religious folks. They were much more obedient and pious then most people found in today’s church. They fasted 3 times a week, some not even swallowing their spit. They prayed 3-5 times a day, most prayers lasting at least 15 minutes. They were zealous for evangelism even having to expand the court of the proselytized in the temple. They were fundamental in their belief, pious in their acts and yet missed Jesus because of their desire to do to be accepted, instead of just resting in the finished work of Christ.
Many find themselves in this same situation that Jesus spoke about in John 5:39-40. We are so willing to “do” all kinds of things but being alone and speaking and waiting to be spoken to by God is alien. And yet without coming to Him, daily, you will not have life but a religious treadmill that will wear you and those you love out.