When I think about religion, I think of a bird stuck in a cage. It’s a pretty bird, and it gets a lot of attention as people stare at it while they pass by, but no one dares to set the bird free. The bird is free within the cage, it has everything it needs, food, water and some toys to keep it busy, it can expand its wings but not able to fly in the sky to give God glory by doing what it was created to do.
Many believe religion as something that you follow…like Christianity. But Christianity is not a religion. (I hope some people just got set free right there.) Yes, breathe…Christianity is not a religion…well at least, it shouldn’t be.
I used to be caged by religion. “don’t do that…don’t wear that…but do this…and do this…”
Giving my life to the Lord wasn’t an easy decision. Not, because I felt I wasn’t ready but because what I saw from other Christians. I didn’t want to be like them at all. It was a great stumbling block for me. When I did give my life to the Lord all the commands came in to play starting with the formula I was to be baptized. I felt I was losing my personality to become a cookie-cutter Christian. But being a new Christian I thought this was the way it was to be in order to please God and be righteous.
I did everything I thought was “right” until it became second nature. I attended church every Sunday, Thursday for bible study, woke up early every morning to join the prayer line… But inside I was feeling there has to be more! This can’t be it!
The dilemma was I wasn’t free to be me. God has created us all with our own personality. I needed to be free to worship Him through my personality. We weren’t created to be “cookie-cutters Christians”, but we are all made uniquely like snowflakes that all have different beautiful designs, not one of them is the same.
Many times new converts come into the church excited to worship the One True God, but after some time they are stifled out. Some of them will stay but the fire within them will be extinguished over time, others will leave giving up after realizing they can never measure up to the status quo. Feelings of disappointment overwhelm them as they realize they cannot live the religious lifestyle as expected. But some will eventually be freed!
It took some time for me to realize, there is nothing I can do to be righteous in God’s eye but what I needed to do was accepted the free gift of salvation God had given me and you.
So what is Christianity?
If you ask, you will get different answers. At one time I didn’t want to be called a Christian…I didn’t want to be categorized with “these people” or the institution of Christianity. So, I called myself a Child of God. Yup, I was so proud of that new name. If anyone asked if I was a Christian, I would correct them, and say “nope, I am a child of God.” But one day while walking to work and speaking to the Lord, He said, a Canadian is a Canadian because they were born in Canada, a Jamaican is a Jamaican because they are were born in Jamaica. A Christian is a Christian because they were born in Christ!!! It was like a light went off…how could I not get that before?
Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life – John
Just how a father loves his baby and teaches them right from wrong, so the Father is teaching us right from wrong when we are born again. He will not allow His children to go the wrong way without keeping His eyes on them. He’s there even when we make mistakes. He will pick us up like when a parent picks up their children when they fall while learning to walk.
The problem with religion is it is made by man-made rules. Many made with good intentions, some by misinterpreting scriptures. But as John 3 says humans produce humans. I understand the scripture is talking about physical birth, (don’t go all religious on me now), when one tries to make others like themselves, they are producing what they think is right, a cookie-cutter, instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to lead and teach, and since it is not from the Spirit of God… in reality, it is humans producing humans.
I am free!
Christianity is not a religion! Christianity is about having a relationship with God. The church is a group of people, brothers and sisters, born again with the same Father.
It took some time for me to be freed from the cage of religion, but I am now free. I can expand my wings like a dove and fly freely in the sun. I can now be the person God created me to be in sweet fellowship with my Creator.