Religion On My Terms

by Tim Hall
Whom are we trying to please?
Some have called it “Burger King Christianity”. Burger King once used the slogan “Have It Your Way” to sell their food. It wasn’t hard to get their message: If you want pickles but no onions on your burger, just tell us. You’re the customer; have it the way you like it.
That kind of approach has been transferred to the practice of Christianity. There are many who don’t like the old rules and forms of the Christian faith, so major changes have been made. Most of our neighbors don’t see a problem with such an approach. Do we?
Suppose someone wants to become a Christian, but doesn’t like the idea of being baptized. Shall we bend the rules so they can affiliate with our congregation?
If they don’t like to sing, can we give them a pass on this aspect of worship? If they can’t stomach the thought of forgiving someone who has offended them, do we grant them an exemption?
How far does this consumer mentality reach?
There is nothing in the Bible that encourages us to approach religion in this way! There are dozens of passages, though, that teach the exact opposite. We must do things God’s way if we want to please Him.
Nadab and Abihu were priests of God. Added to their credentials was the fact that they were sons of Aaron and nephews of Moses. But when they tried to alter the way they worshiped God by using fire from an unauthorized source, they weren’t just reprimanded — they died in a flame of fire sent by God (see Leviticus 10:1,2).
Is there anything we’re supposed to learn from that incident, especially with Romans 15:4 in mind?
And what exactly did Jesus mean for us to learn from His words in Matthew 7:21-23? After describing people who were very “religious,” doing various things in the name of the Lord, He responds with these chilling words: “‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”
Why did Jesus say that? Because He had earlier laid down the terms of approaching God: “… he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
Forget what the world says. People, no matter how well intentioned, often get it wrong. Focus on what the Lord says. If you’re being religious in an attempt to please God, then there’s only one way to do it: The way God has revealed in His holy word.
“As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).

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