Shedding Religion//Being Alive to Christ

These are more tidbits of revelation God brought after this experience Monday night, along with bits of my husband’s wisdom.

-I thrive in a situation where I can offer hope to someone who has otherwise been rejected or is fearful and believing lies. I am completely delighted silly when someone trusts me enough to spill junk to me, and by my response, they know I’m not scared by their sin. I love seeing a heart set free by love- a love that is not afraid of sin, but died for it.

Furthermore, I’m not afraid of sinners. I’m not scared off by adultery or fornication or homosexuality or anger or economic instability. But truth be told, I am wary of the religious person. I’m not afraid of their opinions and judgments of me; I’m wary of being weakened in the things that God has set me free from. Because I used to be religious.

I admit I feel like I do not have the grace to deal with religion. I choose to separate myself from it so that I can walk another way. I’m not perfect, and I make mistakes. But I know a Father who I want to follow, and I choose Jesus over idolatry of self.

I love religious people. I love control freaks and fearful people. I love people who hang on so tightly because they are afraid of being hurt or others being hurt the way they were in the past. I love those who can’t release control to God. However, I sometimes don’t feel personally strong enough to be free from them pulling me in, if that makes sense.

I rarely struggle with the pull to sin when I am around sinners, but I struggle with the pull to rely on my own righteousness when I am around religion. I admit it.

I am on a journey of relying on Christ for my righteousness and safety, but sometimes those old comfortable, safe options of lukewarmness pull so strong. However, I choose to let Jesus be God, so that in my weakness, Jesus will make me strong.

In the Old Testament, people had only the law to get to God, but when Jesus died, that veil between God (the Holy of Holies) was rent, making it possible to let us in. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man comes to the Father but by Him. Life is not as complicated anymore because we are under a new covenant and can be washed clean.

Things can become complicated again if man does not RECEIVE the atonement. You see, when man doesn’t receive atonement and goes back to gods of self and the law for righteousness, Jesus is pushed out of the way, building back up that veil, once again separating you from God. The law no longer works as a mediator.

We can not enter into Gods presence and the Holy of Holies through the law, because a new covenant is in place. We now have a mediator, Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to God, but by HIM. Period. We may as well stop trying the old method. It’s been useless for 2,000 years!

So if you’re dead, if your church is dead, it might be because the only way to worship is in spirit and in truth. If we try to reach God (holiness) through the law, we take away Jesus. If we take away Jesus, we can’t get to the Spirit. If we don’t have the Spirit, we can’t have life. The law is dead, and it cannot bring you to the Father anymore. When that old system is put into play in this new covenant day, (since the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah) religion happens.

I’m not saying I am free from religion.There are times when I am attacked with condemnation, and for a time allow Satan to convince me to operate under the law as if I could give God penance to even the score of my sin. But God is faithful and just to forgive me. Because I need Him. Because I want Him. Because I have received His favor, love, and forgiveness.

But when adultery to self and the law, instead of atonement through Jesus, becomes a lifestyle, then God’s anger is furiously kindled against you. And it a serious thing.

Anyone who knows what God has done in me the last two years, knows it is not second nature for me to be negative. My calling is mostly summed up in the word “hope.” But this revelation the other night shook me to the core, and I can’t be quiet about it.

Adultery is serious on a physical level. But adultery/idolatry on a spiritual level is blasphemous to God. Ever wonder why Jesus hung out with whores and liars and thieves and gamblers and drunks if He was perfect?  He mostly only stood in the presence of the religious long enough to rebuke them for doubting God.

I am beginning to understand. I can any day hang out with someone who I know good and well is having sex before marriage, gets drunk, and who is blatantly lying to me, etc. I am not ashamed to say I hang out with imperfect people. But I think Jesus also hung out with those people. Because the SICK are the people Jesus came for.

I was sick too. I’m not ok with the sin, mine or anyone else’s  But now that I have received atonement and favor, I want to be an example of how incredible life is with Jesus, being forgiven and walking in the bliss of God’s plan.

I want to attract sinners because of Gods mark on my life. I was just like them. But God rescued me, and I am a redeemed and restored human. It’s like night and day when God does His thang. 🙂 (His miraculous transformation.)

It took me six months to find my way back to Him and away from my mistakes, but I am thankful there were people that accepted me the entire time, and I will continue to give people another chance until the day I die, even if I get categorized with them.

I don’t care if some say my love condones sin. People don’t need a licence to sin. Sin is human nature. I’m not here to dissect that human nature and rate the wrongness of certain sins. I’m here to show them a God who can reverse the curse!

I’m here to be a friend and example while they sin and a pathway to the Solution when they are broken and ready for God. (I need to hang that on my refrigerator so I never forget it.)

You can’t just show up when someone sins and tell them what they already know. Most sinners already feel bad enough with you adding your two cents about their sin. You need to have a history with God and somewhat of a history with people before you speak into their lives.

It’s foolishness to say you hate the sin but love the sinner if you only showed up when they sinned. False humility. Only a proud person waits to give someone the time of day until a sin is committed. Trust me, those efforts will not be taken well! If you love a person, you will love them until the day you die, even if you never get to see the fruit of your love in their transformation. That is Jesus, my friends.

Let’s be mature. Let’s stop drinking milk, and eat meat. Let’s not be elementary. Let’s be spiritual. Let’s have discernment  Let’s not flow with feelings and reactions. Let’s extend calm in the the storm. In fact, let’s tell it to stand down.

Jesus will spit the lukewarm out of His mouth because they think they have no sin. They do not know or have rejected the Holy Spirit, yet stamp His name on their man made system. That is a pretense of righteousness outright sinners rarely produce.

God is relentlessly relational, and believe me when I say it takes more humility to receive atonement and gifts of the spirit than it does to live under the law. One of religion’s main roots is pride. Receiving the blessing of favor and forgiveness and walking into a life with God is the best thing that will ever happen to a person.

I want to make it clear again that religion is the enemy, not a denomination. My experience personally has been predominately in Mennonite circles, (Baptist second) but religion isn’t found in only one denomination of church. Religion epidemics are word wide. So please don’t think I am accusing any specific denomination or culture. What’s important is that God is the focus no matter where you are in life.

I personally know of people who are in Anabaptist circles that have the life of God in them and are free from religion. My mother is one of them. She amazes me all the time. I bless these incredible individuals beyond measure for the grace it takes to have a relationship with God when the conditions are not always ideal. I have neighbors and friends who want more, yet feel they where they are called at this time, and my hat is off to them.

God might call you out of a denomination someday, (or not) but never out of relationship.

Some people (me, for example) may be led to leave a culture or denomination to thrive in the spiritually elsewhere, but we can be free from religion no matter what our background or present situation is.

Religion is worldwide, but let me tell you there is a heavenly force more powerful than the law, and He is a man. He is a gentleman. He is in many places at once, ministering, healing, doing miracles, bringing repentance, setting captives free, etc. That is a move I support fully, and I am so honored to have such a rich, loving Father who holds the whole world in His hand and cares for every tear that falls.

The simplicity of the cross is beautiful. But it doesn’t stop there. Stopping with forgiveness is often where lukewarmness starts. The Holy Spirit draws you to the cross, but if He isn’t guiding you into greater things beyond that point, more than likely you will fall back on yourself.

The Holy Spirit is power to overcome, power to heal, power to love. It is supernatural. If you reject the supernatural, you reject God because His works are beyond this world. Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift. It’s a choice to receive God’s righteousness on a daily basis. It’s an invitation to have healing for your sickness and diseases. It’s an invitation to minister to others and have Him wreck them with His love too.

The Holy Spirit is a Comforter to embrace! If you ask the Father for bread, He will give accordingly. He is a good Daddy! Be encouraged. God’s heart is tender towards those who need and want Him.

Surrender your fears and doubts to Him as sin and receive faith that moves mountains for your discouraging circumstance. God is bigger than bondage. Take a stand in the heavenlies, and God will take a stand for you on earth.

He is jealous for you, your success, and protection. He’s a mighty man of war and a gentleman. 🙂

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© Brenda Kanagy

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