I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions.
-Matthew West "The Motions"
Sometimes I just don't get this whole religion thing. I mean, I LOVE Jesus. But, it seems like religion has become so complicated. So....messed up. Religion has become this seemingly endless list of "do's and don'ts" and we've strayed away from everything we're supposed to be doing. I know I've mentioned my dislike of denominations before- I think they just bring us apart instead to uniting us together. Hey- we're all Christians believing in one God- right? I'm not religious- I just love the Lord. You know, sometimes I wonder what Jesus would think if he saw today's churches. Would our churches attract Jesus, or would he turn away and not like us? We like to equate Christianity with morality. It's all about how good we look on the outside, how good we appear to be. We lose focus on what's inside. We forget that we are nothing without God, nothing we do can earn us a spot into heaven. It's not about how good we look, it's about a genuine life change. Is your picture sincere? Are you portraying who you really are? We miss the person God is and we try to impress him- we put the emphasis off of God and onto ourselves. We lack humility. Our culture stresses morality and being a good person over selling out.
Strengths can get in the way of God's power. God gave you all of these amazing gifts, but it can be so hard in the world to sell out for God and go all the way for him. 1 Corinthians 1:17 says, "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News- and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose it's power." Paul is basically saying, "Look. I know that God has sent me to tell 'yall about Jesus. But, I'm not really that great of a speaker. It's all about Jesus, not about me." Our goal should not be to be the best. The goal should be learning and knowing more about God. Don't let your serving him replace your knowing him. Don't let your gifts get in the way, remember to stay focused on God.
God uses imperfect people to show his glory. Think about all of the people in the Bible that have messed up. They aren't all perfect. We should strive to live a godly, Christian life- but, not by a checklist. Search for God and see where he is moving and join him- don't try to make the path for him. Sometimes, he has other plans. If you let him direct, help, and place you, he will get the glory.
God's ways are so different from anything we can ever imagine- don't put him in a box. Our picture of being religious (perfect, morality) keeps people from experiencing God. We forget to spend time building a relationship with the creator of the universe and learning humility and dependence on God. We try and earn our way into heaven- which won't work. We worry about the words over the prayer. We worry about the color the chairs are in the worship center over the people in the community that might not have a relationship with Jesus. We spend so much time doing meaningless stuff. When we get to heaven, I don't think God will say, "Lauren, in that prayer you said at dinner that night in 2008, you didn't say thank you enough" or "Lauren, those posters in your Sunday School classroom clashed with the paint". No, I think he is more likely to ask, "Lauren, why didn't you invite your friend to church? Why didn't you introduce her to me? Don't you think I'm worth it? Am I not good enough?" Then, sometimes, we fall into this "morality trap." We make religion equal morality.
Christianity is not being a Republican. Christianity is not being a Methodist. Christianity is not self righteous. Christianity is not protesting the ten commandments being taken down from a courthouse. Christianity is not standing on a street corner telling people they are going to hell for wearing shorts. Christianity is not just going to church because it looks good to the community. Christianity is not condemming others because they are different.
Christianity is loving God. Christianity is loving everyone and showing God's love through your actions. Christianity is helping the poor, feeding the hungry, taking care of the widows (so the Government shouldn't have to!). Christianity is taking yourself out of the equation and puts all eyes on God. Christianity doesn't care what political party, denomination, ethnicity, gender, or age you are. Christianity is loving God and loving other people with everything you've got.