Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 6 October 19:
Note: Here is a short video overview of Jeremiah: https://youtu.be/RSK36cHbrk0
Jeremiah 2:6 – “They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that none passes through, no man dwells?’”
Our relationship with God is meant to be very personal and real, the defining experience of our life. Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) Eternal life began the moment you were saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and you are meant to know Him more and more each day and make Him known more and more each day as we walk with Him through life and experience Him in very powerful ways.
Christianity is not just doctrines to believe (though doctrine is important), habits to practice (though habits are important), and sins to avoid (though avoiding sin is important). Our religion is about relationship, everything designed to help us draw closer to Jesus in loving unity and with each other in Him. Also, God intentionally uses our life experiences to increasingly reveal Himself to us and grow us in Christlike character – nothing is random, and we are not mere victims. (see Romans 28, 29) However, if we don’t guard our hearts, our “religion” can become heartless habits, empty rituals and prideful legalism, and our churches can become clubs that promote moralism rather than genuine relationship with Christ. If we aren’t careful, our giving can become burdensome, futile attempts to earn God’s favor, ease our guilty consciences, or demonstrate self-righteousness rather than opportunities to express our love to Him and to care lovingly for others; our prayers can become hurried, rote mantras rather than intimate two-way conversations with Him; and our obedience can become self-righteous legalism rather than the natural response of someone who eagerly seeks to serve the One they love.
Called by God, Jeremiah spoke to a people who had replaced genuine relationship with empty ritual, and they had grown so comfortable in their condition, they didn’t even notice their separation from God. They attended worship services, studied, prayed and gave, but their activities were hollow, futile and powerless. Also, though claiming to be a godly people, they had drifted into deep idolatry deserving of God’s wrath — rules without relationship always lead to rebellion.
– Jeremiah 2:11-13 – But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Above all else, guard your heart. Don’t replace a vibrant, freshly flowing, continually refreshing and life giving relationship with Jesus, a fountain of living waters, with a broken a down, dead cistern of empty ritual that can’t hold water and only leaves you thirsty and struggling to survive. If you feel like you are experiencing a “dry spell” in your faith, drink from the living waters of Jesus and be refreshed. Rest in His grace, and abide in His love.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 6 October 19: Today, as you study, attend church, sing, pray, give and fellowship, focus on your relationship with Jesus and truly experience Him. When you walk through the day, walk with Him; practice the presence of God.