probably one of my biggest pet peeves is when i talk to someone about my faith & their response is, “that’s awesome, but i’m not religious.”
cool. neither am i.
religion is not the same as following Jesus. religion is something that was created by HUMANS as a way to try to literally become perfect enough for God. straight up. and i’m sick and tired of people mistaking following Jesus as being “religious.”
religion gets a bad rep because it deserves a bad rep. religion teaches that God is angry. that you can “earn” your way to heaven. that God will only love you if you’re “good enough.” that you can only talk to God if you’re in a certain holy building and you can only confess your sins the "right way" if you’re going through someone who is “better” or “more holy” than you?????? WHAT THE FRICK PEOPLE?
y’all are literally acting like Jesus didn’t even come to earth, die and change ALL OF THAT.
so before jesus came yeah life kinda sucked, no one could live up to the perfection that God is. people spent their whole lives studying scripture, giving to the church and going crazy trying to obey all the laws God had set out for them. but THEN SOMETHING CHANGED. and religion kinda acts like it didn’t.
what changed is Jesus came. He was the perfect picture of love. He gave. it. all. for you. He literally died, took His last breath- thinking of your face. He became your sin. He took your sin, and all of the stuff you couldn’t live up to, and He became it, He let it crush Him instead of you.
I know everyone knows Jesus died for our sins, but I don’t think we think enough about what that actually means. that means that when the veil tore, He broke the barrier between God and man. that deletes the need to speak to a “holier” person to get to God because THERE IS NO BARRIER. you can talk to God in your bathroom, climbing a mountain OR in church. there’s no limit because He is always there and ready. you don’t have to confess your sins to a priest because you have direct access to the Lord— yourself. don’t miss that. and literally if someone says that’s not true they are wrong & they’re living by old covenant rules.
“he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will ALWAYS have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!” - John 14, MSG
second, you are not held captive by RULES!!!! I CANT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. the bible literally straight up says that following rules will get you nowhere!!!!
how long have you lived believing that if you were “good enough” and you didn’t, lie, steal, gossip, or cheat, you’d get to heaven? be honest, that’s kind of engraved into everyones head. just be good enough for God and you’ll get into heaven. if you’re a nice enough person, you’ll be in good standing with God.
that couldn’t be farther from the truth. God does not want robots trying to live up to his expectations. think about it- say you were dating someone and their whole motive for dating you and being nice to you was because they were afraid you’d break up with them if you didn’t do what they said. but think about if you were dating someone and they loved you SO much, it hurt their heart when they did something that brought them far from you. that’s what God wants with us.
He wants us to first fall in love with Him, wholeheartedly. everything else will follow. all He wants is relationship with us. He doesn’t want us constantly scared that we’re going to hell, he doesn’t want us never feeling good enough. all He wants is to BE WITH US.
that’s also why He sent His holy spirit to live with us. so we can be in constant communication with him whenever we want. not only in church and not only on sundays but every day. and not so we can just constantly say “hey Jesus i’m sorry i lied last week please forgive me i’m so scared”, but so we can just be like “hey Jesus what’s up I’m walking to class right now it’s pretty cool and my coffee was really good this morning.”-- like that’s how He wants us to talk with Him daily. like a friend.
yes, obviously you need to ask forgiveness of sins and praise Him and give your struggles to Him but He also longs just to be with you, hang out with you and be your best friend. #besties
religion is a bunch of rules and rituals. life with jesus is freedom. religion is limited access to God, jesus is your homie at all times. religion is honestly mostly boring, if you have trouble keeping your eyes open in church you definitely aren't doing it right. following jesus is a freaking party and He wants everyone in on it. God also loves dabbing (leviticus 4.19 KJV) -- lol.
but seriously, I know people are gonna comment on this and be mad that i said this. but it’s probably just because you’re a little uncomfortable with being in relationship with the God of the universe, and that’s okay. but like tanner said last night, we aren’t called to be comfortable! you also might be mad that i’m saying this because you don’t want to change, you want to be a sunday christian the rest of your life, and you want to keep God in your life on YOUR terms- when it’s convenient for you and how everyone else does it, and that's probably the worst thing you can do.
you ALSO might be mad because you think saying “what’s up Jesus thanks for chicken nuggets” isn’t formal enough or doesn’t honor Him enough. I get this point, because yes! we definitely should honor God. He deserves the highest praises! but there’s a difference between honoring Him, and living like He is an angry ruler waiting to condemn us all to hell so we have to be on our best behavior 24/7 and only bring things to Him that are worthy of His time. SO WRONG! like i said, He longs to just be with you. and if you spend enough time with Him, you’ll want to honor Him for what He’s done/doing in your life but you’ll also want to hang with Him like a friend.
so yeah, rant over, sorry if this makes people mad. but like one of my favvvvvvv authors wrote: Jesus > religion. i hate religion, i hate rules and i hate the idea people have in their heads that God is far away and we have to live up to who He is to be good enough. we will never be good enough. that’s why we have grace. living in that grace is perfect freedom- try it.
ps. some of these photos are from when i got baptized this weekend. it was the best day of my life. we hopped into the river at the point fully clothed! 51 people baptized, 79 people saved. what a life.