Mar
30

Religion: The Juggernaut to Grace — Devotional

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Dictonary.com defines juggernaut as … "any large, overpowering, destructive force or object, as war, a giant battleship, or a powerful football team." With this in mind, I suggest that religion itself is the major opponent to the grace of God. More people are kept away from grace by religion than any other force. Even Christians can become innoculated from grace through wrong teaching that focuses on human effort instead of Jesus’ merits. Reliousness continues to be a formidable opponent and juggernaut to grace.

As most of us have heard many times over, religion is man’s attempt to reach God. In contrast, grace- rooted Christianity is God reaching out and rescuing man. You can’t have it both ways. Either God is in charge of the process or man is. If man is in charge, count me out. Religion always ends up getting mad and mean. I prefer mercy because I desperately need mercy.

Few forces are as brutal as religious people fighting amongst themselves trying to prove who is the most spiritual. At the end of the day, there is usually a list drawn up that contains certain human behaviors that are what God is looking for. It usually contains the behaviors that the people drawing up the list feel they do a good job on. Don’t smoke, drink, dip or chew or hangout with people who do! It usally doesn’t mention gossip, judgmentalism, overeating, spiritual pride, ‘white lies", deception and two facedness.

When Jesus disciples were arguing about who was the greatest among them, he quickly pointed out to them that their thinking was backwards. It is not about being the greatest among men. It is God’s estimation that counts. I find it interesting that it seems none of them offered the argument that Jesus was the greatest among them. This is what quickly takes place among religious minded works based people; Jesus is left out. It becomes about who is the greatest among themselves. I wish that I could say, I have never been subtly seduced by this thinking, but I cannot.

Performance based living is rewarded in our culture. It is not wrong to want to achieve and be our best. What is wrong, is the desire to do it for the praise of man to satisfy our own fearful egos. I say fearful, because this is what happens in competitive environments–whether spiritual or secular. When we strive to one-up everyone else, we are always afraid we will not measure up. We fear we will fall short and come in second place. We are tormented, that someone else will arise and remove us from our place of glory. Therefore, our efforts to be the best become our religion. We worship our work. We worship our sport. We worship our hobby. We worship….???? In the midst of the mindless mayhem, we forget about Jesus and our desperate need for his grace.

The core truth of the Gospel is that we couldn’t measure up, we can’t measure up, and only Jesus measures up. The good news is that God through His grace and love allows Jesus perfection to be accounted to us. This ransoms us from our desperate plight. In addition, through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus goodness is actually imparted to us, so that he begins to live his life through our lives.

Take my advice. Turn from the juggernaut of religon and cast yourself upon the righteous merits of Jesus Christ. When you do–you find grace. Awesome, abounding, unlimited grace.

No more fear.

No more striving.

No more Christian competitions.

No more arguing about who’s the best or most holy.

The hands down winner is –JESUS!

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