To some church members, religion is a rite or a ritual or a legalistic and lifeless form, a liturgical system marked by meaningless and wearisome verbiage. There is a lot of religious garbage in our so-called conservative and evangelical churches also. There is a ceaseless quoting of tired adjectives and a jumble of pious platitudes. We so often hear people say, "We want to share our faith." My friend, most people don't have enough faith to share. It's not your faith when you share about how wonderful you are or what wonderful things God did for you. You are to witness to Jesus Christ, who He is and what He did for you.

In talking about salvation, people say, "Commit your life to Him." If you ask them what they mean, they say, "Yield your life to Him." Do you really think He wants your life? He says that our righteousness and even our so-called good deeds are filthy rags in His sight. God doesn't want your dirty laundry, my friend. I am afraid that we have gotten into the habit of using words that take away the real meaning of the gospel.

There is another word that is surely being worn out and whose tread is really becoming thin. Love is a high word of Scripture, but it has been worn out on the freeway of present-day usage. It has been emasculated of its rich, vital, virile, and vigorous Bible meaning. It's been degraded to the level of a bumper sticker which says, "Honk if you love Jesus!" If you love Jesus, you don't run around honking your horn. If you love Jesus you're going to live a life of obedience to Him.

My point is that today there is a great deal of "churchianity" that is bland and bloodless, tasteless and colorless. It is devoid of warmth and feeling. There is no personal relationship with Christ that is meaningful and productive. One liberal pastor wrote that it made him sick to hear people talk of a personal relationship with Christ. I would surely make him sick if he would listen to me, because the thing you have to have, my friend, is a personal relationship with Christ. Your ritual and your liturgy are not worth the snap of your fingers unless you have a life that is related to Jesus Christ.

If there is no deep yearning for a life that is well pleasing to Him, if there is no stimulating desire to know Him and His Word, church membership is just like a young man falling in love with a furnished apartment and marrying an electric stove, a refrigerator, a vacuum cleaner, a garbage disposal, and a wet mop! That is just about all it amounts to. Let's stop playing church today and start loving Christ and living for Him!

—From Dr. J. Vernon McGee's Edited Messages on Zechariah ©1994