You Can’t Give Your All for Jesus and Submit to Human Religious Demands

Unlike the burdens of manmade religion, the pure and undefiled religion of caring for the orphan and widow comes with a reward!

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Jesus Calls You To Give Your All, And It’s Worth It!

 

Matthew 16:24-25 (NKJV) Then Jesus said to His disciples,“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Mark 10:28-31 (NKJV) Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.”So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Romans 8:17 (NKJV) and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Jesus calls us to give everything, but there is a great reward. We really find our life when we give it for Him. We find unspeakable, heavenly treasure, the joy, and glory of heaven. What is it like? It is having God’s love fill you and flow through you like a river. Rivers of love and joy. Sometimes you can feel it physically, because it’s not just theory, it’s actually real, tangible power.

Eternal life is knowing God. His nature, the reality of heaven, fills your heart. If you have experienced that and know the riches of Christ, you will never envy anybody, because you know you are so rich that you have what everybody needs. All the billionaires in the world are paupers compared to you!

2 Corinthians 4:17 (NKJV) For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

Jesus calls you to give everything, but your reward is His glory! Do you know God’s glory? Do you know His love filling your life and possessing your heart? Paul was whipped, beaten, pursued, went hungry and thirsty, and had sleepless nights, but when He saw God’s glory he called it all light and momentary affliction! The glory gives you the strength to keep going!

And Jesus promised that those who gave their all for Him would receive a hundredfold more, not only in eternity but in this age. You may leave house, brothers, and sisters for Christ; you may be an outcast, but God will set you in family, restore and strengthen you, and provide for you to carry out His will on this earth.

 

Are You Carrying The Burden Jesus Gave You, Or Have You Added Other Things To It?

Human religion is a heavy package, but Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light. Religion that is pure and undefiled is to care for orphans and widows and keep yourself undefiled by the world. Mere human religion lays heavy burdens on men’s backs and doesn’t lift a finger to help them, and does its works to be seen by men.

Culture has added on a lot of things to what we think of as “church” which are not really scriptural essentials of what church is. They aren’t necessarily wrong, but they are not essential and can be a hindrance. It’s not wrong to have a church building and a budget, for example, but are the building, budget, and overhead serving the people, or are the people serving them?

Many frontline church planters (people planting churches among the unreached where there was no church before) will say that those “extras” can be some of the greatest hindrances to church multiplication. Consider this fun skit from YWAM church planting coach Brian Hogan, who was one of the leaders of a church-planting movement that started in Mongolia and multiplied into hundreds of churches in various nations. It highlights some of the things that may become part of a heavy package of religious add-ons to the gospel.

Many of the things mentioned in the skit are not only a heavy burden to people we reach with the gospel on the mission field, but they have become a heavy burden for us and for people in our own countries.

If you want all those high-overhead add-ons, yes, you have to pay for them. And I’m not saying it’s wrong if you have some of those things and it is edifying you. But more and more people are realizing that being a Sunday morning spectator isn’t really edifying them. They go wanting to connect with other Christians and instead they sit through the service and then everyone goes home. Few people even stay around to talk a little. Today many of us already listen to great sermons and worship music on Youtube and what we want is fellowship and participation, not a show. But religion has told us that the high overhead, the building, the ministerial salaries, the buildings, and the big budgets are essential. It has told us that they are “church.” They are not.

What has happened recently is that a lot of “ministry” organizations have become a very heavy burden. Because the leaders took out mortgages, got in debt, and got into all kinds of financial obligations, they are putting heavy pressure on the people. They are calling members to dig deep, to sacrifice, to give their all. In many cases, they compromise the gospel in the process of trying to get people to give more, entering the realm of manipulation/witchcraft, and teaching people to relate to God by their offerings instead of through Jesus Christ. Then they lose the pure gospel message and then people REALLY aren’t edified or helped in Christ in their meetings! What was supposed to edify them has now become something that just sucks the energy and life out of them!

The last time I went to the recovery house, someone on our team said “I really feel good here. Even if I stop going to church, I’ll keep going to the recovery houses.” Why did she feel that way? I think she didn’t realize that she doesn’t feel good at church like she does when we have a meeting at the recovery house, because the church has lost a pure gospel message. And if we don’t have a pure gospel, what good is all the religion and structure and overhead anyways?

 

Manmade Religion Also Asks You To Give Your All, But It Doesn’t Come With The Reward And It Wears You Out!

About a month ago the Lord spoke to me and said “The church (institution) has been telling people to give their all and to sacrifice for so long, and now people are really tired. They were told to give their all, but giving all to the institution is not giving all to Jesus. And actually, giving all to the institution has hindered them from giving their all to Jesus because it came without the reward. They were told they were giving to Jesus but it was not actually what Jesus called them to do, so it came without a reward and now they are exhausted.”

I saw very clearly that this was right for the local church here. They had done construction and pushed people to give sacrificially just a few years before, but then there was the covid situation and they moved to another place and had to build another building, and they have now gone to pressing people every week to give more, promising financial miracles, making up prophecies to get people to give when God didn’t speak, and spending a large chunk of the time preaching about offerings. But it’s the voice of their need to keep their way of doing things going, not the voice of the Spirit.

In the weeks after the Lord spoke to me about what was happening in many Christian’s hearts, I’ve heard several people from the local church make comments showing that they were exhausted and suggesting they didn’t even know if they were going to keep going to church. They were people who I didn’t expect to make comments like that, and it strongly confirmed the word I received about what was happening in many Christian’s lives.

A lot of those people are really finding life in our mission groups, in weekly discipleship meetings, at a prayer meeting on the mountain, or going to a recovery house to minister. They don’t even feel good in the big meetings anymore and they don’t realize it’s because the message has become so compromised. They aren’t being edified in the big meetings anymore, but religious tradition has told them that’s what church is, and they feel like giving to it is “giving to God.” However, it is sucking their strength and energy and keeping them from really giving their all to Jesus.

And sadly, all too many people either keep pressing on in that system, putting everything into it with no reward and no joy, or they fall out of Christian fellowship and give up on church.

Many people have been giving into that system for years, they are worn out, and it’s never enough. They would love to give to frontline missions, to care for orphans, help the elderly, or help their neighbor. They would actually have so much joy giving to those causes. They would have a great reward of joy and partaking in God’s glory by doing so; joy to sustain and refresh them. But giving their all for religion with no reward ended up getting in the way of giving their all for Jesus and receiving His reward! It has exhausted them and many are just getting burnt out.

 

Don’t Let Manmade Religion Hinder You From Giving Your All For Jesus!

Don’t get me wrong. If you attend a church that has a dedicated building with regular expenses and overhead, and it is serving the people, with no need to manipulate people or to constantly pressure everyone in order to keep the whole thing going, I’m not saying to stop. I’m not saying that’s bad. Maybe your group is able to do things that way without it becoming burdensome. We honor the Holy Spirit and He works in many different contexts. That may be the place where you are finding life and being edified in Christ. And if you’re a part of that and feel that it is serving and blessing people, contribute to it!

But if you are worn out, maybe the burden you’re carrying isn’t the one that Christ has given you! Let me ask you: Are you really giving your time, effort, and money as you desire and purpose to give in your heart? Or are you not really giving where you want to give because you are giving to the demands of human religion and carrying a heavy package? Is mere human religion with its heavy package of add-ons to the gospel hindering you from walking in the pure and spotless religion of caring for the orphan and widow?

There are many people whose hearts have burned to give to missions; to care for the poor, the orphan, the widow; and more, but giving constantly to the heavy burden of religion with all its add-ons is hindering them from giving their all for Jesus and giving as they desire to in their hearts.

2 Corinthians 9:6-12 (NKJV)But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:

“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God

You can’t serve God and money. You can’t serve two masters. You can’t give your all for Jesus and give your all for religion. When people make religious demands of you that are not what Christ is asking you to do, don’t submit to them for a moment.

I was going to a weekly meeting in a big church building. I love the people there and the Holy Spirit has been working in their lives. But the Holy Spirit spoke to me about refusing to participate in other people’s sin by giving in manipulative offerings, and it got to the point where every week the offering was manipulative and I could no longer give. I wasn’t being edified at all in those meetings. Many times I left disturbed. I was really only going to connect with people because I have seen many people there blessed, physically healed, and encouraged. I need to be around people because God’s power flows through me through my love for people. But even having much meaningful connection with people after the service ended was becoming difficult.

So I finally just stopped! But I didn’t “leave the church.” I’m not telling people I stopped going to the big meetings, and the place is so big most people probably won’t even notice very quickly. The relationships with people are still there, I’m still furthering them, and the big meeting didn’t really do anything to further them anyways! I’m staying involved in two mission groups, going to recovery houses, and I’m still in a cell group of Christian friends that is unrelated to that church. I’m not disconnected! I love the body of Christ and I love encouraging each other and worshipping the Lord together! I love being able to build other people up!

I give as I purpose in my heart, and I have so much joy in doing so! I really give because I want to! The vast majority goes towards caring for the elderly, orphans, and other people in need. I talked to my friend Pastor Moises of the recovery house and asked about what local churches are doing to support them. Only one local church was giving any regular support to their crucial ministry, about $40 a month. So many Christians would have much more joy giving to that work, but they feel like they can’t because of the demands of human religion, high overhead, and constant “needs” that are sapping their strength. One of the largest churches in our city just spent millions on an addition that they didn’t even need, and it seems the main reason was so they could boast that they had the biggest “temple” in the city. Thousands of Christians who go there are being called once again to “give sacrificially” and pressed as they have been for years, and they are tired, but they have been told it’s “giving to God.” Thousands of children in Brazil have one meal a day or prostitute themselves to eat, and these Christians would love to give more to do something for the orphans, but they’ve been told “The tithe comes first, and the tithe goes to your local church.” Giving their all for religion has robbed them of their reward and kept them from giving their all for Jesus.

 

Give As You Purpose In Your Heart, And Let Go Of The Heavy Package!

If you are finding life and communion with other Christians without the things in the “heavy package” Brian’s skit mentioned, then let go of the heavy package! If you have been giving to add-ons that are not edifying you, then stop! Stop tithing so you can dive into the joy of Spirit-led giving! Give where your born-again heart in communion with the Holy Spirit has always desired to give!

I want to encourage people to let go of the heavy package, but I also want to encourage you to stay in Christian fellowship. Sadly, in the past, a lot of people who got tired of the heavy package of religion have become exhausted and withdrawn from Christian fellowship. Let’s pray that those who are tired of the heavy package of religion would find something healthier rather than becoming isolated. Let’s also offer them our hospitality and fellowship without all the add-ons of religion!

This is not just about money, or even primarily about money. For many people, commitment to religious programs and church activities can consume so much time that it’s possible for it to hinder them from giving their all for Jesus! It can hinder you from reaching the kind of people that Jesus spent time with! I have seen so many miracles visiting people’s houses, including the houses of those who are not following Jesus or even of a different religion, that I take every opportunity I can to visit families. Don’t get me wrong: Regular, participatory Christian fellowship is essential. But if I have the choice between visiting someone’s house or sitting in a church service as a spectator, I will almost always choose visiting the household and I will often see more of the supernatural move of God during that household visit than I have seen in many church services! Where is Jesus going? I can’t let the demands of human religion hinder me from obeying and following Jesus!

Unlike the burdens of manmade religion, the pure and undefiled religion of caring for the orphan and widow comes with a reward! You can give mostly in secret, as you desire in your heart, without anybody spying on your freedom in Christ to see where or how much you give. But you know that God sees and you have the joy of participating in His nature! Here are some examples of the kinds of things I WANT to give to, which are great works of caring for people and/or bringing the gospel to the unreached:

House of Mercy in Armavir, Russia: These friends rescue and care for homeless people, many of them elderly and with nobody to help them. You can see pictures and stories of people they are rescuing on their Facebook page or on Telegram.

Because of the international situation with Russia, the only way I know to send support to them right now is by signing up with this Telegram bot and then going to their Telegram page to donate.

Brazilian Kids Kare: We mentioned how many children in poor regions of Brazil eat one meal a day, are beaten and sexually abused, and even have to prostitute themselves to eat. Our friend Reinhard decided to do something about it. He has opened six children’s homes in Brazil and wants to open 100. https://braziliankidskare.org/

Joshua House Life Centers: I spent time with these friends personally in L’viv Ukraine sometime around 2010. For many years, they have been rescuing and adopting children from horrible situations of neglect and abuse, and also doing evangelistic work and outreaches to the poor and elderly. They are planting other homes that do the same. Not orphanages, but families! In the current situation, they are also working very hard to care for refugees fleeing the war. They are willing to risk dying in Ukraine because God’s love compels them! https://joshuahousecares.org/ and https://joshuahouselifecenters.org/

Harvest Now: Our friend Stephen Hill and his organization partner with servants of Christ in various parts of the world, many of them in frontline areas where most people have never heard the gospel and the church faces persecution. They are involved in evangelistic training, multiplying house churches, distributing Bibles and Luke 10 Manuels, rescuing the oppressed, and empowering the poor. They have amazing projects that give a lot of bang for your buck! And if you have some time, take a look at some of the articles on their website too! https://www.harvest-now.org/

Casa de Paz (House of Peace): This is the drug/alcohol abuse recovery house that we are most involved with. I’ve mentioned it a lot in recent posts and we’ve seen many miracles and healings there. We appreciate pastor Moises and feel he is truly serving people and motivated by God’s love –which is why some people have commented that they feel better when they visit there than they go to church! They are also caring for elderly people who have nowhere to go. Only one church is giving them a little monthly support, so we try to do as much as we can to help them. We are also in the process of helping them build a hydroponic system with fish and vegetables! Many of you guys have contributed to that project with Paypal donations, and we appreciate it!

 

 

This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Go to Heaven Now

Featured Image by Alain Audet from Pixabay

 

The views and opinions expressed by Kingdom Winds Collective Members, authors, and contributors are their own and do not represent the views of Kingdom Winds LLC.

About the Author

Jonathan Brenneman didn't know if God existed when he was a child. Then one day his mom prayed for his hurting back and he felt something like a ball of energy rolling up and down his spine. The pain was gone! Jonathan is now a missionary living in Brazil. He loves to see God touch people tangibly and heal others, just like he was healed.