The holidays are approaching quickly. This is the time of year that we meet with our family members, before the big days of celebration and have them sign contracts with stipulations that state in detail when they will come, how they will behave along with what required foods they will bring. The contract will be signed and notarized so it will hold up in a court of law. Your family will come because they have signed a contract…not because they love and want to be with you. Ridiculous?
But isn’t this religion and ritual WITHOUT relationship of love? Isn’t this how we treat God by holding on to traditions of our faith without having a deep faith relationship with Him? Do we go to church out of habit instead of love and expectation of meeting Him and getting a message from Him? Many times people come to church to gripe and complain because they aren’t leaning into the Holy Promise of God. Faith has faltered and routine has taken over.
We love God because He first loved us. God wants us to lean into and have faith in his Holy Promise to us that He WILL always be with us and will ALWAYS love us. What He wants most is for us to have a rich, intimate growing relationship with Him based on our love for Him.
Paul explains it well in our next installment of his letter to the Romans…
Romans 4, The Message
13-15 That famous promise God gave Abraham—that he and his children would possess the earth—was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God’s decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed. If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That’s not a holy promise; that’s a business deal. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise—and God’s promise at that—you can’t break it.
16 This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it, those who keep the religious traditions and those who have never heard of them. For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father—that’s reading the story backward. He is our faith father.
Am I treating my relationship with God as an ironclad contract or a Holy Promise?
Dear Heavenly Father, Your Word leaps out to me, showing me how we behave sometimes. I love meeting You each morning over coffee and cheerios. This a precious time to hear from You. Thank you for reminding me that this cannot just be a ritual, but a promise to be together forever. May my love grow deeper and deeper as I grow in our relationship. I love you, Lord with all my heart, mind and soul. Thank you for pulling me out of the rut of rules and into a holy promise of relationship based on Your love for me and my love for You. Go with us. May Your love and light be evident to others today. In Jesus Name, Amen