This year I’ve noticed a quiet movement, especially among those whose opinions I care to consider. It’s defined by the word - Stand. Whatever that means for others, for me it means to be willing to speak rather than be silent just to avoid conflict.
With that in mind I offer this:
I’ve noticed lately that my prayer life has changed. Even as troubles and tribulations mount and requests for prayer have increased, I am reduced to - and deliver us from evil.
Jesus recommended that plea when He responded to the request to tell the disciples how to pray so I lean on that as good authority. Even so, I always finish up my morning prayers (before I get out of bed) with - ‘what would You have me do today, Lord?’
Here’s a confession, I have never really known what God wanted from me, not in almost seven decades, other than to listen, obey and trust and wait for further instructions. To be a willing empty vessel. Other than that my ‘grand purpose’ was never delineated. I’ve come to think of myself as a facilitator. A seed planter. Certainly, I wasn’t endowed with the mandate to preach or teach, as others have. When I know something, because I dared to ask and then I received, I don’t necessarily have doors open up to me allowing me to share with others. This blog and a handful of books is as good as it gets on that plane.
This might sound very strange to most people who are conditioned to believe that we, as Christians, are required to preach the gospel to everyone who crosses our paths. I concede some are some aren’t but the feet can’t do what the ears do. To make it a law is a man-made concept.
I do, and have for many years, reject man-made religion.
Let me be clear I do not, however, reject Christ or the power of sharing by quiet example, silent prayer and alms given in secret. I am all in on those.
First of all, Christ did not come to establish a new religion. Those who follow Christ’s teachings were referred to as followers of The Way, back in the day. The label ‘Christian’ came later. Humans do so love to put labels on things. But the problem is, labels come with boxes. Humans also love to keep things defined with specific boundaries, so they can manage everything efficiently, understand, and then postulate with intelligent explanations.
But God will not live in a box. Nor a building made with hands. Nor a human concept of Who and What He is. When Christ came to shake things up, to fulfill the promise of all the Old Testament prophets for complete change, religion and all the tidy boxes it fit into was already well established and proven to be a dead end both literally and figuratively speaking.
I am an incorrigible maverick, a thinker not a follower, and therefore cannot worship anything manmade, neither idol, man or law that redefines and limits God or requires that He resemble our understanding, so when I came to grips with the truth that Christ changed everything, meaning EVERYTHING, I had to decide to leave it all behind or just the manmade parts. Which left me floating in space without a tether to the mother ship. For a nano second.
Stripped and alone with Christ, emptied of all dogma, religiosity, and the skews high intelligence enforces on simple truth, I did a free fall into a singular, personal relationship with Christ Himself. Now I look upward and outward instead of inward. I don’t need self-esteem, I have Christ-esteem. I don’t need to love myself - I am loved by Christ. I don’t need to measure everything by how I feel, my feelings are protected by the ultimate truth that nothing matters but what is in Christ’s interest. Nothing. Else. Matters. I do not matter except as He chooses to shape me for His own purpose and will. And it’s more than okay if I don’t understand. Or heard by many. If only one finds inspiration in these words, I have stood well enough.
The smartest human on earth still cannot possibly have the answers so while I might listen to or read what others have to say, I cannot follow what does not align with Christ’s teachings. Christ said, “Follow me”. It wasn’t a command, it was an invitation. Choose or don’t. Believe or don’t.
But here's a friendly warning - just tread lightly when deciding to define Christ by false religion. It’s been around a long time, that fake representation of another Jesus. But He didn’t create it.