Take off Religion; Put on Freedom

“A pure heart create for me God, and a true spirit renew within me” Psalm 51:10

As I wrote in my last blog entry, Take off Pride; Put on Humility, I understood that it is important to not just exhort us in what to take off, but also to exhort us in what we are to put on. I do not mean “putting on” another mask, but rather to experience an authentic transformation in our lives.

This week, I want to revisit the first “mask” I wrote about, which is the mask of religion (Take Off the Mask of Religion), because I see how prevalent it is even within the Body of Messiah. This mask is an outward show, when we try to impress others through our religious or pious acts, so that people will look at us in a positive way.

While it is true that, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26), those works must come from an authentic heart set apart for the Lord, and not as mere acts to keep up appearances.

“Freedom” is sort of a buzzword amongst believers in Messiah. I often hear believers using the term “we are free”, but I wonder if people really understand this concept within God’s Kingdom. The question that always arises in my heart is: free from what and for what?

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Through Yeshua the Messiah, we have been freed from the punishment of our sin, which is eternal separation from God Almighty. We are freed from sin’s control so that we may be living sacrifices to Him each and every day of our life.

The center of the matter is the condition of our heart. I love the verse from Psalm 51 (at the opening of this blog), which describes the heart of freedom that we now have as His followers. David understood that God is looking at the heart, and therefore was asking God for a true, pure heart with a true spirit; in other words, David desired that his actions would be an overflow of his love for the Lord in order to honor the King.

He later writes in verse 16 (verse 18 in the Hebrew Bible), “For you will not be interested in sacrifice, and a burnt offering you will not want.” In other words, religious acts cannot please God; He instead desires a humbled, broken heart that belongs to Him alone.

My dear brother and sisters, through Yeshua, we not only have access to the Almighty, but also have everything we need to live a life honoring to Him, in the freedom He gave us to love Him with pure and humbled hearts.

Let us not do things in the way of the world in order to impress others through our acts of religion, but rather to honor God with a contrite heart that is set apart for Him:

“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

God sees your heart; God knows your heart; God wants your heart to be set apart for Him… will you give it to Him?

This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel, September 12, 2016, and reposted with permission.