So now, come back to your God.
Act with love and justice,
and always depend on him.
Hosea 12:6 (NLT)
I’m not a very religious person. You might find that a silly statement since I’m all about this God talk with my blog posts and all. But, when it comes to all the traditional religious trappings and traditions of the organized local church, I’m not a mindless lemming. In fact, with all of my experience with different churches through the years I tend to approach the organized church with a suspicious eye and a sarcastic spirit. Call it a love-hate relationship. When it comes to the local church, I tend to find myself more comfortably relating to the non-believers and prodigal children of the community.
That being said, I have a heart for and struggle beside those who’ve never believed or those who’ve walked away from God because of the failings of the church. These folks tend to confuse a sincere and personal relationship with the Creator with card carrying membership in the local union organization of God followers (read: church). It’s an easy mistake to make. You’d assume that the organization who claims to represent the Almighty would provide the best representation, but I’ve found that not to be the case. Not only that, but it seems to be a bit of a universal theme in history. Those who enmesh themselves with the organization tend to gravitate towards keeping up appearances and worshipping the trappings and traditions instead of focusing on what Hosea encouraged in today’s chapter: “Act with love and justice, and always depend on [God].”
For those individuals souls who, as it relates to God, feel like they are languishing in the spiritual wilderness in anger, fear, alienation, disappointment, or misguided belief that God could never forgive what you’ve done – today’s call from Hosea is an honest one. God says it over and over and over again throughout His Message: come back. Don’t come back to religiosity, legalistic traditions and empty rituals, but come back to a relationship with God who loves you so much that He sacrificed His own Son that you might experience life, love, and forgiveness. Don’t come back to lock-step church membership, but do come back to God’s prescribed path of living out love and justice on day at a time.
Don’t be confused. There is a difference.