I will NEVER forget the encounter we had with a gentleman one cool Fall evening a few years ago. My husband and I were greeted by this couple and we began talking. Asking about jobs, children, and somehow landing on the subject of church. As we explained at the time we attended a house church and then in turn asked them where they worshipped. The gentleman puffed out his chest, and looked at us very intently and said these very words...."WHAT DO YOU MEAN? YOU DON'T SEE THE WORD ________ ENGRAVED ON MY FOREHEAD?" Um.....No sir, sorry we don't look for particular labels. He laughed and said well, we were born ______ and we will die ______ . It was clear that his point was his religion or denomination was a source of Pride and while I do not mean this in a harsh way I know only the Lord knows the depths of his heart and intent.
I pray this post is not misunderstood as it is not my intent or in my heart to speak of this or that denomination at all. It is my heart however, to speak of Relationships with Christ no matter what your denomination is.
Did you know that Religious means to return to bondage.....Christ came to set us FREE from Bondage! Halleluah...So, isn't it very obvious that we would never ever want to be RELIGIOUS. Toxic Religion focuses on our external performance not the internal.
Toxic Religion promotes spiritual pride. Thinking, speaking, and making sure everyone knows your way is right and everyones else is WRONG!
The Judiasers followed and obeyed 613 commandments! On the outside they looked very Religious but inside their heart was cold and bitter
Listen to this parable of Tax collector and the Pharisee as it is written in Luke 18 beginning in v.9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about[a] himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Religion says DO ~ do this and God will love you, Spend such and such time in prayer or bible reading and God will have favor on you, obey this and God will bless it! etc. etc. etc.
Relationship says DONE ~ Christ has done all that we need. There is NOTHING that we can do past or present that will make God love us anymore than HE does right this moment! He emphatically adores you and me. We are sinners and will never be able to DO anything to earn favor, or gain success.
We are found righteous through Christ! NOT in OURSELVES! It is our Faith in Christ NOT our works that brings righteousness.
When Christ looks at you or at me HE sees all God has made us to be....not our sin, not our wrongs and mistakes. He longs to have a Relationship with you...heart to heart. To spend time with you, listening to your heart, sharing HIS Heart & ways with you in return!
I have been told numerous times from people...when you have a relationship with Christ and go to church you have to "GIVE UP" everything??!! HUH! That is the CRAZIEST thing EVER! THAT PEOPLE IS RELIGION! Will your Life and Lifestyle change??? YOU BETCHA!! But can't that be said if you were to get a new job, or start dating someone new? We change our thoughts/ways by those we are around ~ so it would only make sense that having a true relationship with Christ will bring changes into our lives but I for one can testify.....It is the best change you will ever know. ever experience. and you will want the whole world to have the same!
Thank you all for sharing in the Toxic Series with me! I have learned so much and loved this Series! Looking forward to what God has in store!!