Believe in God, Not the Ritual

Believe in God, Not the Ritual

I can make a law out of anything. It’s so easy! And I’m prone to do so because I’m far more comfortable following God’s law than I am following God Himself. Up to this point, I’ve not directly connected this particular battle with my work to believe, but it’s closely related. It’s much harder to believe in God Himself than it is to believe in (trust in, rely on) the ritual or testimony that brought me face-to-face with Him.

Believe in God, Not the Law

Believe in God, Not the Law
When I say ritual, what I mean is the order of events. How was I saved? How was I healed? How was I disciplined? How was I comforted? I can make a law of the order of events that led me to God in any particular way. And rather than believe in God, the source of my salvation, healing, discipline, and comfort, I instead believe in the order of events, the ritual.

I once made a law of my own testimony. I looked at how God came for me and what He said to me and I elevated the intensely personal order of events over the Person who ordered them. In dealing with others, I assumed that what worked for me would work for them. I made a law of my own salvation testimony and elevated the ritual over the Creator. Surprise, surprise! My law-bound ritual bore only death. When I believe in the law, I shut myself off from the Source of all power and might. When I believe in God, He is free to move in and through me and anything is possible.

Believe in God, Not the Ritual

Believe in God, Not the Ritual
Maybe there is comfort in a ritual’s predictability because there’s an illusion of control. It’s not comfortable to be thrown off kilter by something new and unknown. I know that I am not alone in this discomfort; I’m pretty sure that all of humanity joins me in this. And Christendom in general reflects that. We say we believe in God, but it’s the ritual that we elevate.

It’s a rare thing to walk into a church that has no set ritual for worship or teaching or study or prayer or fellowship. In my time, the charismatic movement touched the spontaneous law of the Spirit at first, but ritual won out ultimately. That ritual may not look like the traditional sing a hymn, say a prayer, hear a sermon, say a prayer, sing a hymn, receive benediction-style church service of old, but it’s still a ritual. We can make a law out of anything…and we do.

The precepts of the Lord are right, making the heart glad; the command of the Lord is radiant, making the eyes light up.
Psalm 19:8 HCSB

The Lord has never failed to check me when I place my faith in the ritual instead of Him, and He never will, but that doesn’t absolve me of my responsibility. I have been given one job, one work: to believe in God as the Solution to every problem and the Source of every need. How He solves my problems and the way He provides for me is His to do – how and when and the way He chooses. When I place my faith in His Person – when I believe in God and not the ritual – then my life reflects the spontaneity and power and wonder of the Creator of the Universe.

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    • Sam

      Amen, Jennifer… how true.

      I believe we can only follow the Lord by death. You do not die… you are made a prisoner of some “law” (as you say) in the form of chains. Remembering now the Hebrew people in the wilderness… how much we could learn from them. The Lord always dealing with them through the many signs like the Tabernacle, the Manna, the pillars day and night, Moses the leader, the priests… all in order to liberate them and cleanse them. But those signs had a cost: their life, hopes and their own likes and dislikes.

      They were bond either to Egypt or to God. As you said recently, unfortunately there is no place in between. No “neutral” ground. I wish there was!!

      Love to you!

    • tammy

      The more I read Jen the more I connected today’s blog with the issue of super spirituality. “In dealing with others, I assumed that what worked for me would work for them.” In super spirituality (at least from my experience) it was our way or it was wrong…no questions allowed.

      So often scripture is twisted and warped into whatever promotes an acceptable agenda. Hebrews 10:25 especially comes to mind. “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…” can become a great ritualistic controlling/fear tactic instead of a time of “exhorting one another.”

      Thank you for helping me to see that I can also set the ritual above God in ways I might not have considered. And for reminding me of the importance of listening as He checks “when I place my faith in the ritual instead of Him.” I’d like to believe He’s grown me out of this malady but only time will tell.


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