In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Am I relgious or a follower of Christ?

As I was reading the Word this morning the following words of Jesus, found in Mark 7:6-8 (MSG), jumped out at me:

Jesus answered, "Isaiah was right about frauds like you, hit the bull's-eye in fact:

These people make a big show of saying the right thing,
but their heart isn't in it.

They act like they are worshiping me,
but they don't mean it.

They just use me as a cover
for teaching whatever suits their fancy,

Ditching God's command
and taking up the latest fads."

I was reminded of a blog I read a while back by Pete Wilson ( where he made the point that in religion we sometimes come up with this list, things that are most appalling to to God, and of course the sins on our lists are the ones we don't have trouble with.

I think it's incredibly easy to see when other people do this but difficult to catch this tendency in ourselves.

In fact, I think the only way we can catch ourselves when we're becoming list makers, is through the Holy Spirit's direction within us.

Since I read that blog I've had this whole thing simmering on the back burner of my mind. I've been asking God to reveal my list. So here's the truth about me and my propensity toward religiosity instead of true following after Jesus:

Being stingy. Failure to be giving. - I mean, that's got to be way worse than the fact that I'm overly sensitive and get my feelings hurt - right?

Thinking you're better than others. - Well of course that's not at all like my lack of patience with people who chose to not use their heads. Not to be confused with the infirm, developmentally disabled or mentally impaired. Of course I'm never hard on them because they can't help it. I'm ashamed to admit this but I'm sure at some point that my children have heard me mutter to myself "I hate stupid people" after an encounter with someone in a fast food restaurant or somewhere else.

Being oblivious to the needs of others. - But of course this is not at all the same as the way I am sometimes selfish in my daily relations with my husband or sons.

Isn't my list awful? Doesn't it reveal a heart that is not completely God's?

I'm sure glad for God's grace and mercy. I sure need it daily. I'm also grateful that the Holy Spirit not only convicts me of my sin so that I can confess it and live in God's forgiveness, but He also gives me the power to change.

What about you? Do you ever struggle with the list?


Anonymous said...

I appreciate your honesty. Most people are afraid to admit problems, but the Lord gives us strength when we are willing to admit we have faults. I struggle with the same things you do! Especially the "stupid people" one. I can relate so well. Thanks for the post!

Tracy said...

Marty - One of my favorite scriptures is Proverbs 28:13 - "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.". Several years ago I learned the power of that verse; the power of living in intimacy with other Believers in total honesty - to be loved just as I am. Few things in life are as powerful or as healing as that! Somehow, when I keep my weaknesses in the light, sin's power in me is diminished and the Holy Spirit can work more freely in me to change.

JD Curtis said...

We could all use a little more patience. I know I sure could anyway.

Chin chin said...

"I think it's incredibly easy to see when other people do this but difficult to catch this tendency in ourselves." It is this kind of attitude that we have to change in us by God's help or we will never get to mature in our following Jesus. This takes a lot of humility and yes patience. Thanks for the reminder.

Jenn said...

Your list looks awfully familiar ;-) It is definitely easier to see this is someone else...but a close look in the mirror gives one a great reality check, well that and the Holy Spirit's discernment.

Great Blog. Jenn.

Theta Mom said...

My list reflects, "my lack of patience with people who chose to not use their heads." I could use some work on this! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog with the words of encouragement! I love to meet new bloggers! :)

Margo said...

Heck, yeah - I struggle with the list. Keeping God in my heart is always challenging! What's always amazing to me is how there is always a reminder out there, that comes at just the right moment to warn me away from feeling a little too proud of my all around perfect Christian self and remove the log from my own eye or, on the opposite end - warn me away from awful insecurity. The challenge for all of us, I think, is through criticism and adulation, good and bad, to not tie those feelings in with your self worth :) (ps - thanks for visiting me yesterday)

Gem said...

Tracy said: "I'm overly sensitive and get my feelings hurt"

This bothers me. Sensitivity is a gift and I am hesitant to agree with your labeling your sensitivity as "sin". As I explain to my sensitive 9yo son, one key to good stewardship of sensitivity is to be equally sensitive and compassionate about the feelings of others.

I think Jesus was sensitive. Sometimes His sensitivity made others uncomfortable and even hostile but I'm glad He stayed sensitive. I sure hope no one is dismissing your feelings by accusing you of "sin" for "being too sensitive".

Tracy said...

Thanks Gem for being such a sweet heart and being concerned about me. I think you're right that sensitivity, when turned toward being able to tune in to others, is indeed a gift. But, like any other tendency it can be used for good or bad. I can get my feelings hurt really easy and have to remind myself that it's not about me; to choose to overlook small stuff and just move on. Obviously if it's a relationship problem, then I have to talk with the person and we can process it.

My main point wasn't self flagellation but to point out that it's so easy to think the wrongs of others are "really bad" while rationalizing my own. As well as to point out that sometimes in religion we do that on a big scale. So I was trying to use the things that others do that offend me, contrasted with the stuff I do that I rationalize away.

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