Men build religions.
Webster’s dictionary defines religion as an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods. German philosopher and anthropologist Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach wrote in The Essence of Christianity that man creates God in His own image. In many ways, I find this to be true.
Humankind’s broken relationship with the one true God leads it to build religions in place of a relationship with God. Why? Because there is a cost involved. The cost is surrender of our lives to Jesus Christ. God’s ways are not our ways, and yet His ways are the only path to experiencing joy and peace in this life and the next.
I was recently reading the book of Amos in the Old Testament, and this passage jumped out at me:
“I hate; I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” Amos 5:21-24, New International Version
Here is the passage again from The Message translation, which brings a more modern perspective to the passage:
“I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.” Amos 5:21-24, The Message
CRISTA Ministries has a big dream: A dream to see individuals summited to Christ and our organization unified in its mission.
It is not our job to make things happen spiritually through our wisdom or to decide what difference we are making. Our job is to submit to Christ together and individually.
Here’s how we do this:
Pray intensely and intentionally without ceasing. “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
Act on what we hear God saying. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” James 1:22 -25
Do the hard, daily (and sometimes boring) work. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
Be patient and plant seeds. It will take longer and be more difficult than you think. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a tiny mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds but becomes the largest of plants, and grows into a tree where birds can come and find shelter.” Matthew 13:31-32
Together we are on a costly and joyfully journey. Come join us!