Simple Christianity: Stripping Religion to the Minimum
Being a Christian entails a balance between personal relationship with God and Fellowship of believers or in other words, the Church. As much as following Christ is a personal choice and is described as a personal relationship today, Christ followers as all called to engage in community.
If we look at the early church, that community was essential to the survival of the early church. Without that community, the Church, Christianity would have died in the first century. It would have died out due to the persecution. People were not Christians because it was easy. The early church is not without flaws or problems, but it is an example of a community of believers that survived adversities and rallied behind the promise that God was coming back to take His people home.
So I ask: How did we get from the early church to the church we have now?
Maybe the real question is: Is there a difference between the church and the Church? Is religion part of the Church or church.
There is a video on YouTube that popped up constantly on my newsfeed a few months ago. It is of a young man talking about how religion has caused more problems than good and how Jesus came break down religion. This is true, he abolished the rigid, legalist mess of the Jews. He can to rectified the law that had become bogged down with rules and regulations. He came not abolish the law, but to fulfill it. (Ref Matt 5:17, Matt 7:12) It is us, humans that has make religion what it is today.
Let me see if I can show y’all my train of thought…
Christianity is the belief that there is one God that has saved His people from damnation, right? We must have faith that His word and promises are true. Faith is an intangible thing, meaning it can not be seen directly by the naked eye, it can not be touched, it can not tasted or heard directly. Religion is the personification of faith. The faith that we have in God is objectified with religion. By nature, we as humans desire and need for things to be tangible. Religion is that tangible objectification and personification of faith.
Religion is not inherently wrong, some people would argue with me. however when religion is used for selfish gains, a idol or as a replacement for God, then we have a problem. It is necessary to encourage faith. It is when religion pulls one away from faith, and they lose sight of the reason of faith. When religion make faith a bunch of rules and regulation, faith has died.
As Christ followers, we are not called to walk through this life alone. We are called and encouraged to interact and with other believers, to be a light to a dark world- like a city on a hill. Is the Church perfect? No. Does it have flaws? Yes. But instead of attacking Christ’s bride, let us restore Her to what it was intended to be. Let us rectify and correct the path of the Church. It only takes a little something bad to taint the whole, this well known fact.
The trend of attacking the Church then sitting idly by is something that needs to be changed. As clique as it may be, it needs to be said: Be the change you want to see in the World, or in this case, the Church. Let us not perpetuate the flaws of the church, which is in this case, hypocrisy. I am not calling for a revolution, just small changes. In Romans and James it is talked about how the tongue is like the spark of a forest fire, the rudder on a huge ship. Let me start the change with what I say be what I mean.
This is never easy to say. It puts the responsibility on me and me alone. I need to make sure my shit is together before I try to fix others. I must rectify my misgivings before I try righting others. This means I need to rest fully on God and not on myself. This knowing and applying the Word of God. This means being accountable to what I say. This means my words and actions must be one and the same- easier said than done and I have said many a times…
To bring this full circle, religion in and of itself is not a bad thing- once it gets warped and the original intent has been skewed and destroyed then it is bad. Religion is skewed when the focus become laws and regulation, not the freedom and redemption that Jesus’s death has provided. Church, lower case “c,” is easily divided, but the Church, Christ’s bride transcends churches and ought to be our goal- fellowship of believers who seek God and His will, unrestrained by fouled up religion.,
~Father, I pray as myself is stripped away, may what I say and profess is put to practice, may what I read and learn is put into play. I want to be the change in the Church that I see needs to rectified…