There is more than likely one of two responses people have to this word. They either feel peace in it, or cringe at the thought of what religion has done to their lives.
Now half-way through my 20s, my success of moving into adulthood has come down to finding freedom from religion. Yes, I am no longer bound to religion.
Do not get me wrong. I am a Christian. I have not turned my back on God or Christianity. I have just learned to let go of all the legalism and rules that hindered me from walking free alongside my loving Father.
I have found Christianity is not a set of rules to follow. It is a love story with your Heavenly Father. It requires knowing and understanding the mind of the Lord through intimate conversations. It is not about man, it is about THE man, Jesus Christ.
The love of God has given me more happiness and peace than religion ever did for me.
In the book of Jeremiah, a man by the name of Jehonadab ordered his descendants to not drink wine. For generations to follow, all of his descendants upheld this rule. They continued to be a family of morality.
However, morality does not equal holiness.
God sent Jeremiah to Jehonadab’s descendants expressing his displeasure in their ability to obey His words while continuing to uphold the laws man had created.
“But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me. Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets to you. They said, ‘Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have give to you and your ancestors.’ But you have not paid attention or listened to me. The descendants of Jehonadab son of Rekab have carried out the commands their forefathers gave them, but these people have not obeyed me.” Jeremiah 35:15-16
Growing up in the church, it was so easy for me to see Christianity as merely the teachings of the pastor or the congregation. It was so easy to just accept what was taught rather than seeking God for what my Christian walk should look like.
If we get so caught up in man-made ideas of religion, it will drown out the voice of what God is telling us to do. Just as Jehonadab’s descendants, we have not “paid attention or listened” to all that God is trying to reveal to us.
“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?” – Jeremiah 23:16-18
I encourage you to soak in the presence of the Lord and listen to what he has to say. There are so many things I was raised to believe growing up that I no longer stand for. I will not express what my views are because I want to encourage you to search the scriptures and seek the Lord for yourself. Maybe everything we have been taught in the church growing up is the thing that is keeping us from experiencing Christianity to its fullest. Stop clinging to religion and cling to the Father.
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3