Now here we stand confusing said dominion with domination, influence with manipulation, and conversion with control. In our quest for control we are even foolish enough to attempt to control God. We put Him in a pretty box with a bow and serve Him up with an understanding called religion.
For 400 years from Malachi until John the Baptist religion continued to perform and increase in form and feature instead of wisdom and stature. The Spirit was not attending as He had previously yet business continued as usual. Religion.
How many suffered at the hands of the religious leaders? How many could not reach mythical plateaus of perfection attempting to not only follow Levitical Law but the additional laws of Judaism? All packaged with a bow called Yahew, yet He Himself was not wrapped within?
And then, in due time, a Son came. He was the greatest King, yet He had humble beginnings. His legitimacy questioned from birth. His mission difficult, yet fulfilled masterfully. His followers selected, taught, loved, empowered, and finally after He had perfectly prepared them, sent. The prophecies were fulfilled, the message was simple. Yet man still has his need to control.
And so along the way the love and grace, mercy and kindness of God were cast aside for an angrier, more selective version. This distorted view of a dictatorial ruler who longs to destroy became the narrative to control the population. Religion was used as a tool to cause pain, to start wars, to impose great economic inequality, and sadly to oppress the very people that were meant to be set free.
This desire to control others has led to some of the greatest atrocities of history. And yet somehow, there were always those who knew He was more. They chose to believe and lived in such a way that the Light lived through them. They were willing to give up their desire for control and were instead controlled by the greatest Love ever known.
Today we still desire control. But what will our response be? Will we continue to use religion as a tool to manipulate and dominate or will we finally come home to compassion, empathy, and love? Will we go beyond in our thinking about Who our God really is and what His character is filled with?
Will we continue to make excuses for our god of Religion, or will we exercise the faith it takes to walk in love as our true God has called us?
Will we repent for the years of oppression and dissension caused in "the name of Jesus" or will we continue to look away turning a blind eye to the pain? Are we brave enough to reconcile so that a new outpouring of grace can be revived? After all we keep praying for revival, but keep living as though our pride's survival is of utmost importance.
Are we willing to relinquish control and finally obey? Who knows, maybe that's the recipe for us to all participate in the greatest love story ever told.