Getting Away From it All to Experience Christ
Are You Ready for Change?
Mark 7 and 8 unveils some very basic principles of pursuing a genuine spiritual life in Christ. They all involve a common theme—getting away from our daily routine to experience the reality of Christ. This nine-part series explores these principles. Are you ready?
Part 1: Getting Away from our Religious Traditions (Mark 7:1-23)
In this first story, the Pharisees try to condemn Jesus and His disciples for not following their man-made rules related to hand-washing rituals. Every religion on earth, including Christianity, has evolved a series of rules and rituals that did not come from the Lord, but from human ideas. While people invent rules for good intentions, focusing on rules becomes a subtle replacement for the real thing. Instead of experiencing the joy of knowing Jesus Himself, we wrap ourselves in a religious ceremony, practice, or ritual. Jesus was able to cut straight through these commandments and bring us to what really matters:
“This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me.
But they worship me in vain,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.
For you set aside the commandment of God, and hold tightly to the tradition of men.” (v 6-8)
100% Organic Jesus
What tradition are you holding tightly to? Do you realize that much of Christian worship can be, as Jesus Himself said, vain? Easter is full of such traditions. Jesus revealed that the key thing is having a heart that loves, treasures, obeys, and worships GOD HIMSELF, not a religion about Him. It’s not about eggs, bunnies, purple cloth, priests in robes and midnight services. It’s about HIM, and HIM ALONE. The stuff we add to Him only veils us from Him. It is like the innumerable man-made chemicals we add to food. Jesus is the 100% organic God, with no man-made religion added. Check the label on your next religious service you attend. I suggest you feed on Jesus alone, and leave tradition outside.
Jesus is the 100% organic God, with no man-made religion added. Check the label on your next religious service you attend. I suggest you feed on Jesus alone, and leave tradition outside.
Outward Religion vs the Inner Reality of God
Jesus continued with revealing how religion tries to correct our outward behavior, which is very different from God's way, which is to transform our heart from within by His Spirit:
"Are you also without understanding? Don’t you perceive that whatever goes into the man from outside can’t defile him, because it doesn’t go into his heart, but into his stomach, then into the latrine, thus purifying all foods?” He said, “That which proceeds out of the man, that defiles the man. For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, sexual sins, murders, thefts, covetings, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” (v 18-23)
Religion is a big counterfeit and replacement for the living Jesus Himself. Today, turn away from your religion with all its man-made traditions, and seek to experience Jesus Himself and His heart cleansing Spirit. Jesus Himself, not a religion about Him, now dwells in all those who have believed in Him. He is the Spirit indwelling our Spirit who alone can transform us into His image. Partake of Him today!
"But their minds were hardened, for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains, because in Christ it passes away. But to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. But whenever one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face seeing the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit." ( 2 Cor 3:14-18)
Learn to Turn to the Lord: A Song
- Hymn: We will sing to the Lord with our spirit
Christian hymns and spiritual songs with wonderful truths and music.}