The question, do you have a religious belief was the word press prompt question today, so I thought I’d have a shot. I’ve read a couple of others, the expected mix is there, from people who say they don’t, to those who aren’t sure, through to people who say yes, doesn’t everybody, some seem to change as to what they actually believe as to what suits, through to the Christ followers who say the expected, ‘I’m not religious, I’m in a relationship..’ I actually really don’t like that saying now (and I’ve used it a lot in the past). Or the ‘I hate religion, but love Jesus’. I do get it, and this is definitely a personal opinion, but actually yes, if you are a Christian you are religious, look the definition up. I think people get being religious and being legalistic mixed up. The difference between Christianity and other religions is that relationship. So the answer to the question is, yes! I am religious. But I believe in Jesus as my saviour, nothing and no one else.
As far as I understand it, legalism is the following of rules to ensure you are saved, or possibly to look good on the outside, which actually is not what Christianity is about. Being a Christian is an upside down world where you believe in and put your faith in Jesus and then you are changed and want to live your life God’s way, instead of just your own. It’s an ongoing process. Yes, there is right and wrong, but the caring about that comes from knowing God through Jesus and having the Holy Spirit. And yes, all of us, even without that personal knowledge of God, do seem to have an inbuilt right/wrong radar, but Jesus usually changes it to more than merely doing it because you have to. Or disobeying it because you enjoy it.
But now! the relationship. The knowing of Jesus. The knowing who He is and what He’s done (as much as our limited understanding can understand anyway.). The knowing of Him, of the indwelling of His spirit and the fact that He orchestrates our future. The fact that he paid the price for our sin, that He lived the life we cannot live (sinless) and then died on a cross, taking the punishment for everything we’ve ever done, are doing, or are ever will do. And then was resurrected, and a little while after that, ascended to heaven where He is seated on the right hand side of the Father, and He will return for His bride, which is His people, His church. It’s actually really hard sometimes to try to get that fact that he fully paid for the sin, in His brutal death. Such a price. Then was resurrected like we are, when we come to Him.
The fact that we can read the bible, which is God’s word on paper, Jesus is the word in person, and we can be radically changed and start to be conformed to His image and what we should have been in the first place. That! That! is the difference between this and other religions. That we start to serve because we’re made in His image, that life is not all about ‘us/me’, it’s about Him. He who made us and He who is why we are here. Jesus has done it all. We cannot add to it. He made us to be us, with Him, not without Him. To enjoy knowing Him. He came to break the power of sin and when we come to Him we get eternal life, freedom from slavery to sin and become righteous, because of Him. Not us. The bit which is really hard to understand is surely there’s conditions, but the bible is very clear, you believe in Him, you believe He lived and died for you and that He was resurrected from the dead, that He was taken up to heaven and is Lord! (in charge) and preferably that you are baptised. Then you trust Him, partner with Him, allow Him to work in you and guide you, you repent and ask for forgiveness in every necessary area (and it is the Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to this).
I’ve had a lot of memories coming up recently about my life, pre knowing Jesus as Lord and while some are good, there’s a lot of bad ones connected to when I was drinking as well as a few others. They just enter my head pretty randomly. Examples such as falling down stairs (quite a few times), injuring myself, falling off walls, waking up on toilet floors in pubs (and then probably going on drinking), or in fields, on my own, in the middle of snow, of walking screaming around the streets, of my friends being funny with me the next day after going out and me having absolutely no recollection of throwing a bottle at them in the middle of a road the previous night. Vodka used to make me lose my memory. Of befriending random people, of losing people I’d gone out with. Of being so drunk, frequently, that I couldn’t really stand up. Of putting my needs and drinking before other people who were close to me. It made me horrible, ruining friendships and relationships, of being put in very vulnerable positions, and a whole heap of other stuff, including contributing to getting into debt (Which was completely resolved almost ten years ago now). Of course, a lot of this, to some, will be very familiar. I was a bit of a nut. But so are a lot of people. But that doesn’t make it right. And do you know what, since Jesus came into my life once and for all, 15 years ago now. There was a lapse during the first year, which I think was a final realisation that I no longer needed to do it, but since then, the memories on the whole are a whole heap better. Mainly (I think) because Jesus dealt with my pain when I came to Him, he forgave me and enabled me to forgive others and myself. And also made me able to face the stuff, rather than escape it.
When I remember all this, it is tempting to think, shut it down, it’s bad! but it’s good really. It can be good to allow the memories sometimes, rather than shut them down. Sometimes you need to remember. I think it depends on the situation. It really makes me see what it is that God does. He really has changed me and He can change you. Not into someone else, but into you that you were made to be, the you, you would have been in Eden, had the first humans not succumbed to sin. Don’t get me wrong, it is still hard sometimes, sometimes it’s harder, because you may get more of a sense of right and wrong and your pre conceived ideas and beliefs will be challenged. People still get tempted to sin and still often do. But the difference is, when you know Christ, the bible says you are now a slave to righteousness, not sin. It swaps around. And I’ve found the greatest battles against stuff we want to do that isn’t right, yield the greatest results and providing you throw yourself on Jesus, and decide to say yes to him and no to the sin, we get to know Him more. And even in the process, where we might at first be sinning, He still never leaves and then it all changes.
I’d better go now, I’m not sure I’m making sense anymore. It’s very late! congratulations on getting through the whole thing :D. Sorry about the lack of bible references, I could’ve put a fair few in, I’ve literally just sat down and written and written.
Good bye, farewell, speak soon :D.
P.S. I am not currently going on Facebook, so apologies for any lack of response. But I have to say, I’m enjoying life a lot better this week for the lack of the social media. But I am still blogging… obviously….durr.