18 October, 2010

I Hate Religion

There is an old hymn that goes:
Give me that old time religion. 
Give me that old time religion.
Give me that old time religion. 
It's good enough for me.

It goes on to say, "It makes me love everybody."

And THERE is the problem. Religion MAKES you do things. You are obligated... forced to do things.
Religion is actually doing things in a sytematic, repetitive way. This is were we get sayings like, "I do  'x,y,z' relgiously."  Most of us get dressed religiously. Think about it.  Most people will always put their socks on by starting with the same foot every time. When they put on their pants, they always put the same leg in first. That is "religion."  And the really sad truth is, for way too many people, they go to church "religiously." They go, because it is Sunday, and that is what you do on Sunday. They stand and sing, because that is what you do. They give in the offering, because that is what you do. They do good works, because that is what you do. 
That is religion, and religion is stiffling and best... strangling at it's worst. 
Religion kills the soul. 

Ephesians 2:8-9  says   “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (NIV)

Often times when people hear me say that I hate religion, I get some of the strangest looks and stares that could kill. Some people (who don't really know me) think I'm really out there, and possibly even an atheist.
But the thing is, while I dispise religion... I am madly, deeply, crazy in love with Jesus Christ.
Yes, I hate religion, but I am absolutely sold on Christianity.

OK, so some of you reading may be thinking "What's the difference?" 
I'm glad you asked... so I will try to explain.

"True" Christianity is considered a religion but in reality it is profoundly different than man-made religions.  If you consult Webster’s New World Dictionary religion comes from the Latin religare (re meaning “back” and ligare meaning “to bind”). In other words religion means “to bind back.”

It is not just a twist on the word origin, but I content that in a real sense religion is “back to bondage” that is applicable to all man-made religions. Religions all enslave a person in bondage to extreme legalistic rules and regulations with little or no personal freedoms. 
I am convinced that religion is man’s search for and attempt to please God through man-made ways such as good works and/or religiously adhering to certain rules, rituals and regulations.

In sharp contrast, genuine Christianity is God’s search for lost mankind by giving his Son, Jesus.
He came as a baby, lived and walked on this earth and then died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins and mine. He paid it all. There is nothing else we can do, other than simpy receive salvation... that is, accepting the gift, that Christ died in our place, and we no longer have to pay the price, for he has paid it in full. 

Genuine Christianity is about freedom. As a follower of Christ, I am set free from bondage... both the bondage of sin, AND the bondage of religion. My life is not about religious "do's and don'ts" but rather is about living in freedom.

The Bible tells us that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  Sin has separated us from a holy God and as such it is impossible for man to save himself. All our efforts to devise our own way to God are doomed to failure, even before we begin. We can only find and know God by following his way and that is by believing that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died to save us from our sins and the consequences of that sin, which is eternal separation from a holy and Just God. 
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” 

I hate religion, because religion has kept people in bondage, when the gift of life is free and available to all, if we would simply get beyond ourselves and understand that we don't need more religious duties and baggage... we need to meet Jesus... and get to know him, walk with him and allow Christ to continue his earthly mission through us. What was that mission? "To seek and to save that which is lost!"

I'm so glad that on June 15, 1981, I died. My religious ideas died. My selfish desires and plans died, and on that night, I asked Jesus Christ to come into my life... and I surrendered completely to his will... and my life has never been the same.


Randy said...

Darrell, the opposite of religion is being led by the Holy Spirit. "For those who are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Religion does not need the Holy Spirit. In fact, religion despises the Holy Spirit because it cannot control Him.

It takes faith to be led and to allow others to be led by the Holy Spirit in their walk with the Lord. It takes faith because there is no guarantee the Holy Spirit will lead someone else in the exact same way that He leads us, and that is what religion thrives on - uniformity.

NicoleSkysFamily said...

I like it...good points :)