In a devotional entitled, ‘Please, Don’t Call Me Religious’ posted on this blog on February 27, 2016, I wrote the following”
'My hope is, that if you examine my life, looking beyond how desperately short I fall of the example set by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you will see that my motives and intentions are, by the grace and gifts of God, purer and greater than what can be accomplished by attempting to adhere to the rules of, and carrying the burden of expectations placed on my life by, ‘religion’.'
I rely on the Lord and the power, purity, promises and practicality of His Word and Spirit to live a life that honors Him and draws others closer to Him.
- Psalm 119:116 Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.
- Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
- Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
I am telling you all this because my wife and I recently had friends (a man and wife) visit with us in our home for couple of days. We know them well, but I have not previously had the opportunity to spend this much ‘one-one-one’ time with them. Interestingly enough, by the second day or our time together, one of them, referred to my wife and I as, ‘very religious’.
Fair enough. During the course of our days, along with other things: we prayed; we talked about Christ, the church, our church family; we spent time in Bible study; we planned on attending church on Sunday (and invited them to come to church with us)…
But my prayer, my desire and my longing is that, if you spend much time with me at all, you will see beyond everything else in my life and come to recognize that, whether you like it, understand it, respect it or not, I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. And this relationship, more than any other, defines and drives who I am, what I do, and all that I hope to be and do, in Him and through Him for the furtherance of His Kingdom.
See Beyond the Rules
God’s commandments, principles and expectations bring order to a chaotic world. His ‘rules’ are for our benefit.
- Exodus 20:3-17 The Ten Commandments (paraphrased/condensed here): have no other gods before Me; do not make for yourself or worship an idol of any kind; do not misuse My Name; remember the Sabbath day and keep it Holy; honor your father and mother; do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not give false testimony (lie); and do not covet what is not yours.
- Psalm 119:4 You have commanded us To keep Your precepts diligently.
- John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
See Beyond the Reliance
Mature Christians realize that Jesus (God in the flesh – the only begotten Son of the Father) is the preeminent and perfect potentate, protector, provider, preparer, and so much more. We aren’t weak, we’re well informed.
- Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
- John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
- John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
See Beyond the Routines
Our days, our very lives, are centered on the One who gave us eternal life. All we do should demonstrate our appreciation for Him and desire to be like Him.
- Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
- Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
See Beyond the Religion
Followers of Jesus are part of His church (Christ died for the church, Ephesians 5:25)! They worship, fellowship, learn, encourage one another, give to God’s His church, give to different ministries, give to the needy and much more. Christians study the Word of God and build strong relationships with their brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
- Malachi 3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.
- Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Recognize the Relationship
Becoming a Christian requires a knowledge, understanding and surrender to the gospel message of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Living as a Christian is a journey that centers on and celebrates a loving and dynamic relationship with Jesus – our friend, mediator, intercessor, prince, power, peace, wisdom, example…
- Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
- Psalm 42:1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.
- Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
- John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
- Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
- John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
- Colossians 2:6-7 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Father, may my love for You and Your love for me be a shining light in this dark world. Thank You for making a relationship with Jesus Christ possible for me. Thank You for eternal life! Use me as You will. Enable me to walk worthy of Your call. Use Your Word to touch and Change lives. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.