You caught me. I can't lie. So here goes my confession. I am a bad Christian. I don't do everything that a good Christian should do. I don't read my Bible everyday. I'm scared to actually "witness" to someone - in fact, I'm pretty sure that I don't even know how. I don't know the Romans road, or the 4 spiritual laws by heart. I get sad and scared and angry and confused and frankly, I'm tired. I'm tired of trying to be Pollyanna perfect. I'm tired of "acting" right. I just want to be right. I'm tired of pretending that everything is ok when it's not. I'm tired of hearing that when you become a Christian, everything becomes just peachy, and if it's not, you must be doing something wrong or not doing something you should be doing. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm quitting religion. It's all such a mess.
Last time I checked, God says that He's after our hearts. He wants to love us and be loved by us. He wants us to be real with Him, and be with Him. In fact, I'm pretty sure He rebuked the "actors" (after all that's what "hypocrite" means - actor) and told the "religious" people that they were missing it all together. Who was it that touched His heart? It was Mary as she sat as His feet. It was John as he laid on His breast. It was the woman with the issue of blood. It was the woman caught in adultery. It was Peter who dared to get out of the boat, exploded in anger and spoke out of turn - more than once (gosh am I like that or what?). Do you know that the only time Jesus ever yelled at anyone (as recorded in Scripture) was when He was yelling at the Pharisees and people in the temple who were misusing the temple for their own personal gain.
Well, I've been going through a new "salvation" if you will. Now, I'm already "saved", but I believe that salvation doesn't end with the first prayer of confession, but merely begins (see Phil 2:12). There are actually 2 Greek words for salvation- one that means "saved" past tense, and the other means "being continually saved" (I don't have the exact verses with me, but if you would like them, I will find them - just shoot me a message). Anywho, back to the point...my new "salvation" is by far one of the deepest and most difficult things that I have had to walk through. You see, I'm being saved from religion. I'm being set free from the expectations of man, and the "Good Christian Checklist" and I'm finding new life in Christ's love. It's a complete paradigm shift. It's so outside the box of "church" and "religion" that it's like learning a new language and culture. Like I've moved to Zimbabwe or something!
Before you get your panties in a bind, hear what I'm saying. I love love love love church and gathering with my brothers and sisters. And I love reading the Word and hearing His voice and worshiping more than anything else in this whole world. But I love that stuff because it means I'm spending time with the Lover of my soul. And the coolest part of all is that He loves me! He even likes me! He thinks I'm great! He created me for His pleasure (Ps 149:4) and I make Him happy. He likes to spend time with me, and He will stop everything He's doing just to pay attention to me (I think I'm His favorite - sorry to break it to you). And He is so amazing. He is so awesome. I am daily, even hourly, amazed by how, or even why, He loves me - it's so mind boggling. And you know what my favorite thing about God is? He is soooooooooo NOT human! He is not as fickle in His love as so many have accused him of being. He doesn't get mad when I don't read the proverb of the day. He's not disappointed in me when I sing the wrong note in that worship song. He doesn't get offended when I tell Him that I'm not thrilled with whatever is going on right now and that I don't think He really knows what He's doing (yes, I've said that to Him, and of course, I was wrong! But what did you expect? I'm a bad Christian, remember?) Really, I think that He loves an honest heart. He knows what we're thinking anyway, so why not tell Him? Why not get it all on the table and let Him have it? Heaven knows that I would do that with my husband - why not God?
I'm loving this "new" salvation, the journey of this walk. It is a WALK, you realize. Saying the prayer 22 1/2 years ago didn't make me perfect. It just started this amazing hike down the narrowing (and it certainly gets more narrow - can you feel the tight squeeze?) road of life. And the great thing is that He walks with us, and carries us, and strengthens us, and we get to experience His life as we walk. It's not a "someday" salvation. Jesus said, NOW is the time of salvation. "NOW" - you mean that I don't have to wait to experience His grace, His peace, His joy? Not at all....It's all available to us NOW as we walk with Him in His salvation. WOW!!!!
So here's the rub. I've made a decision to quit religion and start my walk as a bad Christian who is loved by a super good God. Will you come with me?