Thursday, September 8, 2011

Personal Piety? Followers of Jesus?

Most of us when we think of piety we think of a priest or some other professional holy person. Perhaps strutting around performing some sort of ritual that no one else is qualified to carry out. Too many, it carries somewhat of a revolting hue, the one that thinks they are so much better than the average. When I think of this word I think of someone that, with the upmost pride and almost idolatrous precision adheres to a petty religious pattern that in the end is of no eternal value in itself. I realize that this is a twisted understanding of the true meaning but for some reason this week it’s been hard to shake this thought, Piety.

But may I be so bold as to say God abhors piety (this type, not the true definition). Isaiah spoke of this type of piety.

Is this such a fast that I have chosen? A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the lord? Isaiah 58:5

Can’t you just hear the rotten distaste in God’s mouth, “Is this such a fast that I have chosen”. “Do you mean this is what you think I’ve asked you to do”? Before this he said:

Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness and forsook not the ordinances of their God; they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Isaiah 58:2

Doesn’t seem too bad, they seek Him daily and delight to know His ways; right? But God just seems totally revolted in this surface piety religion we call Christianity. Did you catch the last part, “take delight in approaching to God” Not delighting in God but in approaching Him, in the method, forms and services. Taking delight in their: men’s prayer breakfast, Choir uniforms and everything on the church schedule. Not it’s not about the holy presence of an all knowing God. We are more concerned how our prayer sounded to those listening, than whether our creator received worship from it. We are more worried what people might think when we walk in church half an hour late than how God feels about the way we treat our family trying to get there on time. Ask yourself, does this thing called church really reflect the heart of God? Or are we just wallowing in our carnal piety as the Pharisees in the day of Jesus.

This is a paradigm that seems to weave the pattern of God’s will. Isaiah goes on to say:

is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Isaiah 58:6-7

Is this not what Jesus’s ministry consisted of? Did He not come to “bind up the broken hearted” and “set the captives free”? Here is Isaiah declaring the heart of God and then God sends His son to live out the example only for our thick heads to still not get it. To many of us (today’s Christian population) are more concerned about following our churches code of conduct than weather our neighbor is struggling to pay his rent. To preoccupied with the new church building plans rather than the thousands of people dying never to read the word of God in their own tongue.

Then shalt thou call and the Lord shall answer. Thou shalt cry and He shall say here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and the speaking of vanity.

And if thou draw out thy soul to feed the hungry and to satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity and thy darkness be as noon day. Isaiah 58:9-10

If we could only keep the lord’s fast (vs. 6-7), he says to put off our yoke, our working of our hands and our humanly intelligent babblings. That we might draw out our soul to feed the hungry. He did not say our wallet he said our soul, that we might pour out of our inner selves in order to touch the afflicted. This by far is more physically draining than any fast of man. To daily moment by moment pour of ourselves into those in need. It is humanly impossible to sustain such a fast without God’s strength. It is in this way that God has designed us to be connected to Him, our father our creator. And it is for this reason that Jesus came to earth that we might follow Him.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you buddy. Some convicting thoughts there.

    I love you,