Zechariah 7.4-6 records, GOD -of-the-Angel-Armies gave me this Message for them, for all the people and for the priests: “When you held days of fasting every fifth and seventh month all these seventy years, were you doing it for me? And when you held feasts, was that for me? Hardly. You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in people.”
Religion is easier than people. People are complicated, unruly, diverse, and inconsistent. Religion is constant, predictable, and manipulable. Religion is a means to an ends. It helps us worship God, serve God and understand God. People are the ends. They are created by God to live with God forever and ever in unity with one another under the Lordship of Jesus the King.
God is not opposed to religion, the process of gathering as children of God in order to praise God and grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him. His delight in our gathering as His children is all of us together singing His praise and working together to encourage one another toward love and good deeds.
The children of God are to be about the business of winning orphans to God until all people are adopted by God. The Father desires all people to become His children but all people are not yet willing. Religion will not help these people become children. Children loving people, serving people, sharing Jesus with people from their personal experience of God the Father, will lead people to Jesus.
The goal of our religion is people coming to Jesus not the development of the perfect form of religion for people to follow. When our religion keeps us from people we are doing it wrong, missing the goal of our Father and misunderstanding the heart of our God or His work through Jesus the Son.