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Three simple steps that anyone can do

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Old Time Religion





 
My working definition of religion is the system or belief in a God or Gods who must be appeased. Once we have the belief that we must appease God, we enter into a religious system of requirements and restrictions. Favor with God under any religious system demands conformity and good behavior. Steve McVey wrote, “Religion is a system of living by which human beings “try” to make themselves acceptable to God through their own actions”.

Religion is basically what we do for God – grace is what God did for man. The core value of religion is that God needs to be satisfied. Jesus on the other hand proclaims that God is satisfied by and through Him. Now if God is not satisfied then we must struggle to appease Him so we can obtain His favor. Under the religious system His favor is directly dependent upon our performance. So if we don’t feel like we have favor with God, we feel like we need to perform better.

The best example of religion in the Bible is the tower of Babel. God told mankind “to multiply to fill the earth and subdue it.” But instead of filling the earth, mankind decided to build a city and a big tower. All people gathered under the leadership of Nimrod. Nimrod was called the Mighty Hunter before the Lord, but the actual translation was a power tyrant in front of the Lord. Tyrant is leader that does not serve the people, but uses the people for His own benefit. A tyrant is a leader who is not governed by love and selflessness. They exercise full power and demand that you submit to their authority. Their only goal is to build a kingdom and leave a legacy; for a tyrant the ends always justify the means.

So the people said, “go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” Their motivation in building their tower was to defy God. Instead of going into the entire world, they wanted the security of a kingdom. They didn't want to be scattered throughout the whole world, they wanted to build a tower that would reach to heaven probably because they were afraid of God.

This is what religion does today; its build a system whereby mankind can get to heaven by hard work. Mankind wants the glory of reaching God, but grace is all about God reaching mankind. Religion says let us make a name for ourselves. This is translated to become famous and renowned. Religion desires to do what it does for respect and recognition. Mankind wants credit for a job well done; we want others to know that we are worthy of respect. Religion makes humans known, but grace makes Christ known.

Religion says be good and you'll become good – Jesus says become good on the inside and you'll do well on the outside. There can be no lasting fruit without a good root, yet the religious desire fruit while forsaking the root. The fruit of a believer’s life is loving, giving, reading the word, prayer and fellowship, etc. But the scary thing is that even religious people do these things. These are the fundamentals of all religions. Any “Pastor” would love all their people to give, read, pray, and fellowship. But the religious system doesn't care why you do what you do; they just want you to do it.

Often times the religious system uses fear, guilt, and shame to get you to do these things. If they want you to give, they say if you give, it will release a break through. So we give with the motivation that we are paying for our break through. If that doesn't work they say you are cursed with a curse, so we give out of fear because we don’t want to be cursed. Fear, guilt and shame is the religious game.

All Christian disciplines need to start in the heart. We cannot do good deeds to be saved, but once we are saved we help but do good deeds. The motivation of our hearts is paramount. We need to ask ourselves a couple of questions: Do we do what we do because we want to? Do we do what we do to earn the favor of God? Do we do what we do because we love and want to help people? Do we give because we believe in the mission? Do we pray because we enjoy God? Do we read to know more of God and His ways? Do we fellowship because we actually love being around these people or is it just religious obligation?

Religion says “try” but Jesus says, “rely”. My first few years of Christianity were under the cycle of trying. I remember going to a youth conference and preacher spoke on defeating Satan with the word. He used Jesus’ temptation as an example. So when I got home I memorized over a hundred bible passages, all related to the problems I was going through. When temptation would come, I would quote the Bible, “put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lust therefore.” The more I quoted the worse I became. The more I tried to deliver myself, the more I became consciously aware of all my sins. Instead of relying on the grace of God, I was trying to find victory through incantations.

Trying is the opposite of relying. The word “try” means that we are attempting to do something or accomplish something. We have been deceived into thinking that God has a great holy standard, and we are to try and measure up to it to make Him happy. This mentality leads to a roller coaster Christianity because we think God’s view and opinion of us is dependent upon how well were doing.

The “cycle of trying” starts with commitment to something we believe we should do. We see or read some holy ideal and make a commitment to do it. We believe of course, that we need to do this because it will make God happy with us. So we come to an altar and make a commitment or we stand up raise our hands or make our pledges.

The second stage is the cycle of defeat; where we do the best we can. We struggle to measure up to the standard we believe that God has for us. So we muster up all the discipline and will power that we can; it seems to be working great which leads us to stage three.

Stage three is that we get filled with extreme self confidence. This is where we are feeling pretty good about ourselves. So we begin to approve of ourselves and like ourselves due to our recent good behavior. We start walking on cloud nine, until one day gravity sets in.

Stage four is the failure. Failure is inevitable, because our self control and discipline only lasts so long. We have good desires and want to do what is right, that’s why it baffles us when we can’t seem to do the things we would like. Now all of a sudden we no longer like ourselves because of our recent bad behavior, we then come to the conclusion that God is frustrated with us all the time.

This brings us to the stage of guilt. Paul talked about this legalistic mentality in Romans chapter seven. He said that he could not do the good things that he wanted to do, but the bad thing that he did not want to do, those were the things that he ended up doing. We begin to question our love for God and often others are there to help. We begin to live a life that is filled with pain, frustration, shame, and regret. Then we come to the point where we are sick of the way we are living so we decide to renew our commitment. We come to the altar, say a prayer, and make a pledge to do better next time. This brings us right back to stage two, where we begin to do the best we can. As we know, the best we can do is never good enough. We repeat the cycle over and over again until we reach the last stage and give up completely. There’s nothing worse then religion and striving to find the acceptance of God.

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Posted: Apr 20 2013 11:49:19pm by Timothy Holloway+
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K Reynolds+ (@kreynolds)
Apr 21 2013 05:45:47am
 
Instead of relying on the grace of God, I was trying to find victory through incantations.


This is something which is not often addressed in Christianity. Yes, the Word of God is powerful but if we are not careful, we will fall into the trap of using it like an incantation which it definitely is not! How quickly we forget Simon the Sorcerer who attempted to cast out demons using the name of Jesus with disastrous results.

Jesus responded with the Word of God when confronted by the enemy. There have been so many times when God has brought His Word to my remembrance when I needed it and we need to have God's Word hidden in our heart but His Word is not incantations which we invoke. Instead, we are remembering and declaring what God has said.

I think it is very important for us to pray as Jesus did. Yes, we can bring our petitions to God but at the same time our attitude must always be, nevertheless not my will but thine. When we don't have this attitude in our heart, I believe we are in great danger.

All Christian disciplines need to start in the heart. We cannot do good deeds to be saved, but once we are saved we help but do good deeds. The motivation of our hearts is paramount. We need to ask ourselves a couple of questions: Do we do what we do because we want to? Do we do what we do to earn the favor of God? Do we do what we do because we love and want to help people? Do we give because we believe in the mission? Do we pray because we enjoy God? Do we read to know more of God and His ways? Do we fellowship because we actually love being around these people or is it just religious obligation?

Religion says “try” but Jesus says, “rely”


I like this. Indeed the motivation of our hearts is paramount. What is our true motivation?

Blessings!

K :princess:


Author: Timothy Holloway+
Posted Apr 21 2013 10:12:49am
  "Yes, the Word of God is powerful but if we are not careful, we will fall into the trap of using it like an incantation which it definitely is not!"

The message that was written on my heart after hearing that preacher was that i had to, "try" to defeat Satan with the word. At face value this may seem correct. But never in the bible will you find that Satan has to be defeated. You will find that he is already defeated and that Jesus Christ triumphed over principalities and powers. If i knew the truth I never would of depended on my scripture memorization and quotation for victory.


Author: K Reynolds+
Posted Apr 21 2013 01:04:50pm
  There are many things which may seem "correct" on the surface but we must remember that the enemy is very subtle and loves to try to engage us in conversation. We have no business getting into "discussions" with the enemy. There is no "discussion" for he both wrong as well as defeated. Instead we need to simply state what God says and that's that. It is amazing what happens when we do that.

At the same time... if we do not study God's Word and hide it in our hearts, we will not be aware of what God has said. This is the very reason that He has given us His written Word, so that we might learn and will not forget.

Throughout time God has commanded that His Word be written down so that we might know what He has said... and remember it.

The day I learned that my husband lost his job, my eyes fell upon a verse I'd taped to my to my computer monitor while I'd gone through chemo which said, "But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more." Psalm 71:14 I needed that reminder.

K :princess:


Author: Timothy Holloway+
Posted Apr 21 2013 03:28:48pm
  Great reply. Now that I have grown in Christ and the message of faith righteousness i have this inner baloney detector. Once "the Truth" is written on our hearts is really hard to believe lies. though we cannot defeat Satan with the word, we can remind ourselves that he is already defeated.


Kirk m+ (@blessings2you)
Apr 21 2013 07:13:35am
  I am all for this religion with a red line through it. I think I will make a few of those signs and stick them on places of "worship" that are in reality places of religious bondage.

Very well said and thanks for showing the difference between religion and true Christianity.

Blessings 2 You!


Author: Timothy Holloway+
Posted Apr 21 2013 03:31:45pm
  Thanks for your reply. There might not possibly be enough signs to post in my state alone...lol


Hoyle Dabbs+ (@tchable)
Apr 21 2013 09:18:02am
  Thank you brother for this message.

Continue in the truth and speaking truth for it is the truth we know that makes us free. Yes, free from sin and free from religious bondage. All too often the accuser has an upper hand simply because people cling to religion. Jesus has overcome the world and as members of Him we are in Him who has overcome. Why do so many struggle for righteousness? We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Praise God, we had victory in Jesus, our Savior. We are one with Him, now and forever.

Believing in Him,
Tch


Author: Hoyle Dabbs+
Posted Apr 22 2013 10:18:30am
 
Praise God, we had victory in Jesus, our Savior.

That should be "we have victory" . . .

Another typo . . . something I do so well


John Knox+ (@watchmanjohn)
Apr 21 2013 04:23:19pm
  Thanks for doing a better job with this blog than I did with my last one - be encouraged for you are walking along the correct road of wisdom and knowledge.

wmj


Author: Timothy Holloway+
Posted Apr 21 2013 05:11:30pm
  I thought your last blog was great "We make the mistake of producing Gods fruit, by concentrating on producing the fruit, just as we have been taught by the world’s concepts. We strive to be patient, to be holy, to be kind, to be Christ-like etc. We grit out teeth to produce good fruit."

Great insight...The Fruit of the Spirit is just that, "produce of the Holy Spirit". Now we can either try to muster up enough will power, or we can abide "in Him" and YIELD fruit.


Phillip Jones+ (@asifbyfire)
Apr 22 2013 09:20:15am
  I agree with what you wrote. A very good blog. My own experience as a Christian echoes much of what you wrote. I can say with all sincerity that my salvation is not contingent on works of any kind. When God saved me and gave me new life in Christ I was saved completely. That is what the beauty of the gospel is all about. Having said that, I must point out that salvation is the starting point of our journey with Him. If we are to grow into the image of Christ we must come to terms with the many admonitions that call for obedience. This only creates tension in our walk if we look at obedience as something that we come to by the exercise of our will. We are learn obedience by submission to His will. That may sound fatuous but it is not. In the Garden Jesus asked the Father, "If it is possible let this cup pass from me but nevertheless not my will but thy will be done." In a latter passage it states that Jesus was made perfect in obedience i.e., complete, fulfilled, finished. Step by step as we submit our will to His we put to death the old man. This is a struggle we will face until the day we die or He returns to claim His own. We can't do this without the Holy Spirit in us, strengthening us and guiding us. It's not fear that motivates us to obedience but love for Him and that, desire, to be like Him. He builds our faith, by our failures, by continually lifting us up and setting us back on the path. Putting in us that perfect trust in His love and grace and in His ability to save us to the uttermost. Always looking to Him as our source for all things. I have heard it put this way, "We were saved. We are being saved. We will be saved."


Timothy Holloway+ (@freebeliever)
Apr 22 2013 06:39:07pm
  I agree with 99% of what you said and found it quite inspirational. I feel a little hesitant communicating the part 1% I don't agree with. I feel it is important because it was a major struggle in my life. The statement, "Step by step as we submit our will to His we put to death the old man" led me into an extreme religious struggle. When I accepted and believed in that i was was under the impression that it was my responsibility to put to death the "old man". But this is contrary to the truth. "Knowing this, that our old man was crucified (past tense) with him". And Paul wrote, "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have (past tense) put off the old man with his deeds" The old man is no longer an issue and no amount of obedience can make him any more dead then he is.


Author: Phillip Jones+
Posted Apr 23 2013 09:20:51am
  I think we may be talking past one another. You have the peace that passes understanding and that is a wonderful thing. I wrote a blog that contrast the perfect state we are in before the Lord in the eternal realm, stating that in God's eyes all things have been accomplished in us. We exist in space and time and what is already done for us is being worked out in us in this world. It's all God and as I submit to Him I become less me and more Him. That is an inadequate way of saying it but I lack the words to say it better. We probably agree on 99.9% of things.


John Knox+ (@watchmanjohn)
Apr 22 2013 10:14:19pm
  The statement, "Step by step as we submit our will to His we put to death the old man"

Maybe we should say "Step by step as we submit our will to His will he that is, Jesus, who has been born within us, he puts to death the old man, so that we are changing from glory into glory. Hence we decrease so he can increase.

wmj


Author: Phillip Jones+
Posted Apr 23 2013 09:25:24am
  I like the way you said it better than the way I said it. God bless.



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