Religious Trap

Joshua 23:11-13

Be very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God. For if you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you and make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you,  know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that the Lord your God has given you.

When God brought the Israel people from slavery in Egypt to their promise land, Joshua was their leader. On his last few days on earth, he recorded the above warning (Joshua 23:11-13) to the people. Since God did a mighty work removing many of the nations around them, Joshua reminded the people to be careful and not associate with those people still remaining who do not follow the Lord. In other words, do not be influenced by the religious practices of others.

The situation is no different today as back then. We live in a multi-religious world. There are those who believe no difference exists between the religions. They are generally the people who have no faith except in themselves. Those who have a belief are either fully committed in their way or simply live culturally within the community. And every religion has multiple divisions within themselves. So, stating they are all the same is a distorted observation of a complex situation. 

The religious trap is believing all faiths are the same. That there is no difference and one of them can’t be more correct than the other. They all worship the same God but choose different methods of expression is the false illusion of the trap.

If there is no absolute truth, than one’s person opinion is as good as another. However, if you believe in objective truth, than only one faith is on target and all the others are leading people away from experiencing God’s fullness and purpose.

I remember the start of my own journey in pursuit of God.

As a teenager with a mission to discover what is the purpose of life, I read everything I could get my hands on.

I took classes on world religions. I read about the eastern faiths. I read books by people who discussed their faith and the reason why they practiced their faith. Even though I was raised in a Christian culture, I was open to everything else. I wanted to know the truth and wherever the evidence led me I followed.

In some ways I completed a circle of knowledge. But this time I had evidence, factual history, and experience of putting God to the test and seeing circumstances and situations come together in a pattern weaved over time. My entire worldview was reshaped. Today, the best grasp I have is knowing God as Triune consisting of Father-Son-Spirit.    

Now when I read Scripture with God’s macro plan in mind, I plan and execute strategy built upon my micro plans knowing HE is involved in our lives more than we even realize. As I pursue my work, HE is accomplishing HIS objectives with me. As I yield to HIM and learn to walk HIS ways, HE occasionally lets me see what HE is doing in the lives of those around me. After these many years of applying myself to do things HIS way, slowly the eyes become more attuned to HIS Kingdom and purpose.

The world is a chaotic place. The institutions and practices around us were developed over time to put order into the culture. Generally, though, the systems are most often built upon ungodly principles unless its founder was a Believer. Even then though, unbelievers’ step-in overtime and changed the Judeo-Christian foundation into a secular rock. You can look at many of the Ivy universities in this country as an example. The majority of them started as Christian institutions for the development of pastors and lay leaders. But today, they are all secular.    

When you understand that God’s way allows you to order your way in this world patterned after HIS character, you have a roadmap on how to deal with others and prioritize your life values for the greatest return on your time and investment. Life becomes more than survival or experiencing the next thrill. Life is designed to groom you and me for eternity. When you capture God’s macro vision for you, you find purpose and meaning behind everything you do.

In fact, you realize others may call you religious, but in reality, you are not religious but living life to the fullest with the least amount of heartache, and a Spirit of abundance in everything you do. The trap is failing to choose the faith that maximizes your human potential while serving others to achieve theirs. Pursue God and HE will let you find HIM. This is not religion, but a deep, intimate relationship with the Master Designer of Life.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager, Faith-Integrator, Scribbler  

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