Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: Religion Without the Rules
What do you think of Kenneth Samuels’ assertion that “We don’t really trust God until we trust what God has placed in our hearts.?
Do you believe that the contents of your heart have been placed there by God?
What does the phrase “a broken vessel” mean to you?
But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”[a] 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.
12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)
Religion Without the Rules
“When Gentiles who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves . . . .They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts.” – Romans 2:14-15
For a long time, John Lennon’s famous lines from his iconic song, “Imagine,” haunted me.
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too.
A consciousness and a community without the moral safeguards and guidelines of a clearly defined religious order frightened me. Much of my fear stemmed from a deep distrust of my own basic instincts.
But as I’ve walked with God over time, I’ve actually discovered that quite a few of my basic instincts have more moral value than the rules mandated by religion. In so many instances, I’ve found my own visceral instincts to be more genuine and more generous than the stipulations of prescribed religious dogma.
We don’t really trust God until we trust what God has placed in our hearts.
Catechisms that cater to religious protocol pale in comparison to the deep desires, delights and inquiries that God has deposited in our hearts.
There is so much heavenly treasure in broken earthen vessels.
Saint Augustine said: “Love God and do whatever you please.”
Today, I only have problems with Augustine’s brazen invitation when I doubt that the kindom of God is within me.
Lord, reveal yourself to us through the meditations of our hearts.