Posts Tagged ‘religion’

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18

What do you fear? You’ve heard the axiom that F.E.A.R is False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear is that emotion that can cause issues we face to seem bigger than life and can and has caused us to freeze, fight or flight. Yet today think on 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Phil Jackson from Red Letter Christians

Advertisements

Chances are extremely high that your religious activity and dogged understanding of Jesus are keeping you from Him.

Luke 10:38-42

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

“To develop a broader vision we must be willing to forsake, to kill, our narrower vision. In the short run it is more comfortable not to do this – to stay where we are, to keep using the same microcosmic map, to avoid suffering the death of cherished notions. The road of spiritual growth, however, lies in the opposite direction. We begin by distrusting what we already believe, by actively seeking the threatening and unfamiliar, by deliberately challenging the validity of what we have previously been taught and hold dear. The path to holiness lies through questioning everything.” -M. Scott Peck

“The treatment of Jesus at the hands of the authorities and the official paranoia over every radical dissenter in history demonstrates the deep fear of the principalities and powers when the legitimacy of their authority is challenged and a confrontation with the truth exposes the idolatrous nature of their power.” – Jim Wallis, Agenda for Biblical People, p.106

“There is an age when one teaches what one knows.
But there follows another when one teaches what one does not know…
It comes, maybe now, the age of another experience: that of unlearning…” -Roland Barthes

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1

Religion teaches our bondage is to sin, Jesus teaches our bondage is to religion.

I was having a conversation with a dear friend the other day, he hadn’t been feeling well for some time and we were trying to figure out what might be going on. I asked about diet (healthy eating) and exercise and after some thought he told me that he ate pretty much like every American and was as active as most people he knows. Our talk veered from there but it’s stuck with me since, here’s why:

Comparing ourselves to others is destructive!

Many of us can see the negative effect of comparing ourselves to the extraordinary as it can be very demotivating. (How could I ever be as good…?) But have you ever thought how harmful comparing yourself to the average is, how detrimental being better than most can be? Can settling for “good enough” keep us from being our best selves? I think it’s obvious it can.

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting becoming perfectionists, there’s always a balance, besides the vast majority of perfectionists only hold others to their standard, rarely themselves. What we’re exploring here is, How can I be the best me, the me God knows I’m capable of becoming? The answer just may start with being able to put comparisons aside.

Health and wellness are good examples for us; couldn’t we all take better care of ourselves? Another area I’m always thinking about is our relationships, both with God and with each other so here are some questions I’m asking:

Am I pursuing a unique deeply loving relationship with God?

Does my knowing the uniqueness of His love for me cause more compassion and understanding for others?

Do I engage in competitive religious activity keeping score in relation to others? (Isn’t this religion in a nut shell?)

If the answers are yes, yes and no, that’s a great start to being real, being who you are made to be and fulfilling the one thing God has asked.

He loves you like He has loved no other! Comparing yourself to anyone else is fruitless. Nothing can compare to you!

Gospel means Good News. The Gospel of Jesus or Jesus’ Good News is that He is God and that He loves you! We who know and understand this are asked to share this message with no strings attached. Unfortunately too often what is heard from us is “god loves me and he would love you too if you were like me.” This is not the Gospel. People are desperate to know they are loved and the world is persistently presenting overwhelming evidence that they’re not. We have to be different; we must present the truth of God’s unconditional love, not just in word but also in action.

Freedom is scary; in fact it’s so frightening most of us choose to remain imprisoned. Rather than join God in the moment and trust Him with our future we cling to what’s familiar and what we believe we control even when it’s painful and unhealthy.  Freedom is more than available, it’s God’s desire and we are presented with the opportunity to choose it constantly. So instead of entertaining the same old thoughts, living according to other’s opinions and staying in our well worn rut; take a chance! Follow your heart, live and love in the now!

“When we follow Jesus, we follow Him, not away from the world, but more deeply into the world.

When we follow Jesus, He leads us deeper into the world; not away from it. This initially confuses most of us, because we thought we were following Jesus to be freed from this world, and yet He wants to lead us right back into it! Why would He lead us back there? We don’t want to go back. We left it all behind so we could follow Jesus in peace and safety. But it is into the world He leads us. Why? Because God has a plan for us.” -Jeremy Myers/The Skeleton Church

And the plan is for us to bring His love to everyone. Not judgment, not condemnation and certainly not fear. The love God wants us to reflect to this world must be rooted in trust and neither love nor trust is real if attached to conditions. God loves you if… is not the message!

Religion is what you do for God that everyone can see. Faith (trust) is how you live with God when no one is watching or keeping score.

A life focused on sin, especially other people’s, is a life eclipsed by death. A life focused on love, especially to those that are different, is a life lived to its fullest.

Jesus said, “Follow Me” many times. What do you suppose He meant? I ask because it seems like we’ve decided He meant for us to get others to follow us. This is far from His intent as He warns in Matthew 23:15, “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned.”

Our desire should always be to draw others to Jesus using only the implement of love. His love, the very love that filled your heart should be shared or taught without religious baggage and devoid of go-betweens. “Make disciples” is better read, “Teach (share) My love”.