THE ROOT OF RELIGION IN US
Let me warn you again of thinking that you are through with religion. I tell you, you may be through with religion, but religion will not be through with you. You may have decided to divorce your "wife," but your "dear wife" will never leave you. This religious wife is a real wife; it is really difficult for anyone to get rid of her.
Several years ago some brothers from a certain place learned to pray-read and then returned to their meeting with other believers to practice it. A general cry of alarm arose and it reached my ears. "Oh, oh, we cannot take this! The people here are not used to this!" This again was the story of religion. They reacted just as Peter did when the Lord let down the sheet from heaven. "Not so Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common and unclean." But the Lord said, "What God hath cleansed, make not thou common." The Lord said in other words, "You may not like it, but I like it." Eventually, the Lord gained the victory in that place.
Shall we limit the Lord? Who knows what the Lord will do and how far the Lord will go. I am not fighting for pray-reading, shouting, or loud praising, but I am saying that we must get rid of anything religious. You may say that you are not used to something new, but the Lord says, "Behold, I make all things new" (Rev. 21:5). What would you say? What can you say?
Peter did have the scriptural ground in the law not to eat anything unclean. But today we have no ground to maintain our old kind of Christian "service." We must confess that it is pure tradition. Peter’s insistence not to eat anything unclean was fully grounded in the Old Testament Scriptures. But if today you say that you do not like loud shouting and praising in the meetings, you have no ground in the Bible, not one word. The Lord be merciful to us that we may be willing to drop all our religious concepts. You may say something is unclean, but the Lord says He has sanctified it. You may say you cannot contact the Gentiles, but the Lord says that He has chosen them before the foundation of the world. If you do not go to them, sooner or later you will meet them in the New Jerusalem. You will meet the people you despise face to face. Then what will you do? You say you do not like noisy meetings, but the Lord Jesus says He likes them. "I am so happy," He says, "that they are calling upon My name." O Lord Jesus! O Lord Jesus! O Lord Jesus!
Religion has become and still is a real pit to us. We have fallen into this pit. I do not mean that in throwing over religion we should be foolishly crazy. We should in the proper sense be sober. Yet it is easy to get out of religion, but not easy to get religion out of us. The Lord Jesus, when He was on earth, acted so clearly before His disciples, showing them by example His attitude toward religion. They all saw it; they were all made clear that Jesus would have nothing to do with religion. Furthermore, they were all clothed with the Lord Himself on the Day of Pentecost and became His bold and living witnesses. Yet in Acts chapter 10, chapter 15, and chapter 21, the root of religion still in them was exposed. It seems incredible to us, but we must consider ourselves. What about the root of religion still in us? The Lord be merciful to us.
(Christ versus Religion, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)