Making Things Religious

Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast: Episode 100


Could it be that we have taken things that God intended to be part of our everyday lives and made them into religious activities? In this podcast I want to ask you to look at three things that we do in the church and ask you to decide if we have made them into something God never intended. Come along with me as we try to decipher if we have mixed religion into God’s simple plan.

I’m Lee Whitman with Restoring the Foundations and I welcome you into this Hope Healing and Freedom Podcast. I was invited to lead communion at our church last Sunday and the thought hit me that we might have taken the bread and the cup out of the context that God intended, and we have made it into a religious event. Hopefully, I can explain what I am talking about.

First of all, let me explain what I mean by something being religious. Religion is the construct or structure we use to house our worship of God for those of us who are Christians, or other divine beings for those who are not. It is human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, absolute, spiritual, divine, or worthy of special reverence. It is made up of tenants and beliefs that provide a form of structure. To give you a simple definition of religion it is man’s attempt to know God. I believe that religion is ultimately man putting God in a box of his understanding so that he has a method of figuring God out. Within that attempt to know God man has set out many, many rules for man to follow in order to be in right standing with God. We have made things religious instead of relational.

In this attempt to figure God out, or as I see it to put God in a box of our understanding, I believe we have taken some things that God intended to be part of our everyday life and made them into religious practices.

The first one I would like to talk about is communion. We must realize from the start of this discussion that God is really into food. He loves for His people to celebrate by eating together. His calendar, the Jewish calendar, is full of feasts and festivals and many of them include specific foods. Each of these feasts were designed for His people to get together, eat and fellowship, and remember. For example, Passover was celebrated with a Seder Meal. The Seder was celebrated with foods that had meaning to the time when the Israelites were to put the blood of the lamb over the doorposts of their house so that death would not visit their homes. The Seder Passover meal was to include a roasted egg, parsley, a bone shank, bitter herbs, chopped apples and nuts, and romaine lettuce. Each of these foods had a specific meaning to help remember God’s protection when the angel of death passed over the homes of the Hebrews.

The Shabbat meal was and still is celebrated every Friday night, which was actually the beginning of the Jewish sabbath. Cindi and I have had the privilege of celebrating the Shabbat meal in Jewish orthodox homes on two occasions. It is a very special meal eaten together on a weekly basis. During the meal everything that is done relates back to a remembrance of God. The people sit around the table and remember what God has done in the past. As part of every Shabbat meal, they will take a cup of wine and offer this blessing to God; “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.” Then they would take a loaf of bread and pass it around and everyone would break off a piece of the bread and they would offer this blessing; “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has brought forth bread from the earth.” This was a normal part of every Shabbat meal.

Jesus was probably eating the Passover meal with his disciples when he took very common elements, the bread and the cup, and used them to teach something. He took the bread as they normally would have done as part of the meal, and Jesus said to them “do this in remembrance of me.” He also took the wine, which again was a normal part of the Seder meal and once again said “do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” The breaking of bread and drinking of wine was not something new that Jesus introduced. He took something that they had been doing on a regular basis and will continue to do on a regular basis and asked them to add one element into their meal. “Do this in remembrance of Me.”

I wonder if we have taken something that Jesus meant for us to do as a regular part of our daily lives and made it into a religious exercise that we do only at church. I think Jesus was saying that as often as we have a meal together it is an opportunity to remember Him until He returns. How would that change things in your life? Many of us say a prayer of thanks to God for our meal. What if we took just a moment during that prayer and remembered the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and looked forward to His return. He said as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, remember me. The bread and the cup He was referring to was a normal part of their everyday lives and I’m afraid we have made it into something religious that we only do occasionally.

Another thing we have made into something religious that I don’t think was meant to be that way, is the way we educate our children about the things of God. The biblical pattern was for parents to teach the things of God to their children. It says in Deuteronomy 6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 And you shall repeat them diligently to your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk on the road, when you lie down, and when you get up.” My concern is that we have made the job of educating our children about the things of God the role of the church instead of our job as parents. We send them to Sunday School for 30-45 minutes a week and hope they will learn all they need to know. The problem that I am having is not that we have Sunday School or other church educational programs, but my problem is that we have made the Biblical education of our children into a religious business that only happens at certain times of the week like Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he grows older he will not abandon it.” How do we train up a child in the way he should go? Organically. Naturally. As Deuteronomy says, teach and train them as you sit in your house, when you walk on the road, when you lie down, and when you get up. It shouldn’t ONLY be the hour they are in Sunday School. It should happen as you live your lives together. Just like communion should not be something we only do at church, but we should celebrate communion organically as we live our daily lives.

So, what should the parents who did not grow up in a Christian home or go to church earlier in their life do about educating their children in the things of the Lord? They have a great opportunity to learn together with their kids. There are so many great resources in today’s world that can help educate the whole family together. Talk about doing it organically. As mom and dad are learning about God and his ways, they can bring their children along with them. I would encourage them to talk with their pastor about resources that he would recommend.

One more topic that I would like to bring up for you to consider. When I was a kid growing up in a traditional denominational church, we had classes on how to share our faith in Jesus with others. In fact, in my church it was recommended that you not share your faith with others until you had taken one of the classes on how to share your faith and had practiced with others in your class. We used a method called the four spiritual laws. I am about to talk out of both sides of my mouth for a moment. I think the four spiritual laws are a really good tool for sharing your faith.

Here are the four spiritual laws:

  1. God loves you and created you to know Him personally.
  2. Man is sinful and separated from God, so we cannot know Him personally or experience His love.
  3. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him alone we can know God personally and experience God’s love.
  4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know God personally and experience His love.

Those are really good, aren’t they? I am not against having a tool that you can use to help get people into the Kingdom of God. But what happens with a methodology for evangelism is that people don’t accept Christ because of a persuasive argument. They accept Christ because they are drawn by the Holy Spirit. John 6:44 says, “The only way people come to Me (Jesus) is by the Father who sent me – He pulls on their hearts to embrace me.” We mistakenly believe that it is the quality of our presentation of the Gospel to someone that makes a difference on whether they accept Jesus or not. It is the Spirit of God moving on their hearts that opens their eyes to see the reality of their need for a savior. Religion would have you believe that evangelism has to be done a certain way or people won’t believe. This line of thinking hinders more people from sharing their faith in Christ because they don’t feel qualified struggling to know the right technique.

Let me give you an example. There is a new Costco opening in our town tomorrow. I was in my local grocery store today and mentioned about the new Costco to another shopper and this lady went off on how wonderful it is going to be to have a Costco in our area. She was a Costco evangelist. Was it her expert presentation that caught my attention? No, it was her enthusiasm. She wasn’t pushy or rude, she was just passionate. What if we allowed our passion for Jesus to leak out of us without the fear that we might do it wrong?

What I am trying to say with all of this is that the Christian Life is meant to be lived naturally and organically not religiously. Think about how you can integrate your walk with Christ into your everyday life. What a difference that could make in your life. What if you made communion something you do on a regular basis as part of a meal? Break bread and thank Jesus for His sacrifice and look forward to His return. What if you integrated Biblical education for your family in the things of God as part of your everyday life? Talk about what you are learning or what you have learned about God with your kids on the way to the soccer game. What if you let your passion for Jesus come out at the gas station? Yes, you might get some weird looks, but so what? You also might be used by the Holy Spirit to draw someone into a relationship with Jesus. 


Father God, I thank you that you are not into religion but that you are more concerned with relationship with us. Would you take this podcast and let anything that is not from you fall to the wayside and be forgotten but take everything that is from you and show us how to walk in it. Show us how to make our relationship with you natural and organic.


We have some powerful tools on our website that will help you.  We would encourage you to check out our Hope Healing and Freedom seminar.  Right now, it’s ½ priced! Just go to and look at our courses in the online store.

RTF Featured on The Shawn Bolz Show

On the second half of this week’s episode (May 20th 2024) of “The Shawn Bolz Show”  RTF directors, Lee and Cindi Whitman, were the guests. Watch for powerful insight and two special listener offers on products to help bring hope, healing, and freedom.