Many of us have heard the expression spoken, usually in anger “She/He almost
made me lose my religion!” Or in a temptation scenario when we were
just about to give that person a piece of our minds, we’ve used the same
words. It all boils down to some situation where we’ve been made so
angry or became so agitated that we almost did something we would not normally
I would like to put a twist on that statement we sometimes make – even in jest. What if you really did lose your religion? Not out of anger, or any other emotional upset. Suppose you just lost it?
When we consider religion from a definitional standpoint we’ll find words like “attitudes, beliefs and practices, [institutionalized] rules, observations or rituals.” This is what the Pharisees of Jesus’ day were about. (See Mark 7:5-9) In fact, verse 8 of this passage notes “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men. . .” They observed religious traditions learned from their forefathers, but did not believe that Jesus had been anointed to preach the gospel and set captives free. They didn’t believe Jesus had been sent into the world to redeem the sinner. Jesus did not die and rise again so we could engage in dry, lifeless, ritualistic exercises. Jesus died that we may enter into meaningful, loving fellowship with Him.
How many times have we refused to raise our hands with joy in worship because “we don’t do that in our church?” How often have we been moved to shout to the Lord, but didn’t because prior teaching said it was irreverent to do so? Jesus is not after our dead traditions, rules and restrictions – He’s after relationship; uninhibited, true, heartfelt relationship with Him. A general definition of “relation” is kinship by blood. There is a blood line running between my parents and my siblings; just as it is with your biological family. We are related to the Lord Jesus by blood, too (Eph. 1:5, 2:13).
Although not through biology or physiology, it is through His death, burial and resurrection that we have been adopted into His family. It is through this blood-bought relationship from which our worship to Him should come. God wants so much to bring us into a deeper, supernatural dimension of worship and a broader realm of praise. As believers we would see God for more of Who He is if we would adhere to the divine standard of worship, rather than to the traditions we have learned over the years that make, and keep us comfortable.
I am not criticizing, or in any way speaking against the whole of church traditions. There are some that should always remain; such as rich musical traditions, families serving in the church together, gleaning valuable God-given wisdom from our senior saints and imparting that wisdom to our children. But what if we really lost our religion and offered up to God that which He most longs for? That being worship that exudes Jesus’ chief requirements of spirit and truth (John 4:24). What if we as children of the Most High moved out of our comfort zones into the uncomfortable? What if we chose to defy the empty rituals we have internalized for so many years and ask God to wash our hearts with His Word and fill us with His Spirit, so we could come before Him out of a heart filled with praise, willing to offer Him honest, open, vulnerable worship?
Since over time I have come into a revelation knowledge of the truth, I have lost my religion many times. However, there are two experiences that are most notable and dear to my heart. I lost my religion when I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at a Baptist church some years ago. My Christian experience that night was free, unashamed and completely devoid of traditionalism. I lost my religion again when I attended the International Worship Institute for the first time. I saw God in a way I had never seen Him before. It forever broke me from mere ritualistic worship. As a musician I learned to bring God more than a song. I didn’t want to leave His manifest presence.
You have everything to gain by losing your religion to total worship and praise. Take off the mask of lifeless tradition and religious perfectionism and completely open up to God. You be real with Him, and I guarantee He will be more than real with you.
Donna Renay Patrick is the founder of WORDshop Ministries, based in
Lewisville, Texas. The focus of this Word-based teaching ministry is
to help God’s people understand the true meanings of praise and worship,
and how this knowledge
impacts our spiritual walk. Donna currently serves as the Minister of
Music at the Emmanuel Fellowship Church in Dallas, Texas.
© 2003BlackandChristian.com. This article used by permission.