If the secret gets out (if it hasn’t already), we will realize a lot of christians are tired and worn out … even many preachers and ministers are feeling overwhelmed and ready to give up and throw in the towel (and in fact many have).  Feeling knocked out by the demands of religion, many lay on the canvas hoping it will end.  What Jesus did to restore life and authentic relationship with us, we have morphed into a religious system of epic proportions that is wearing out and beating up the saints.  A U.S. Senate chaplain once said …

“In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ.  Then the church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy.  Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution.  Next it moved to Europe where it became a culture, and, finally, it moved to America where it became an enterprise.”  Dr Richard C. Halverson

My intent is not to just simply pull up a soapbox and go on a rant against the enterprise of religion.  We have proven we can argue theology, styles, preferences, issues … and yet all the while, Jesus is still not seen for who He is.   It’s not that He is not mentioned at all, because, in fact, Jesus has become the celebrated “mascot” of our religious systems.  He represents what all our striving seeks to produce.  But I don’t need a Jesus who is the mascot of my religion and the goal of all my self-effort – I desperately need the Jesus who is the life of my relationship and the true lover of my soul!  He promised all those that come to Him would find rest in a relationship with Him.

John 4:23 says God is looking for true (authentic) worshipers.  The joy to be authentic.  The reality to be free.  That is what Jesus came to restore.  Jesus delivered us from our sin, he bought and delivered our forgiveness and made us a new creation in Him … not so we could wear a new mask and learn a new act, but so we could be real … be truly free!

So what has happened?  Where did we go off track from His intent?  Well, those are questions to which our answers could fill volumes upon volumes … and they have.  But for me at its simplest, when I don’t realize He truly finished the work to restore me totally to relationship with him without sin, guilt and condemnation – totally forgiven, accepted and loved through grace … to the extent I don’t realize this, I try to help.  And when we try to help, we create religion … laws … rules … masks … facades … the exact opposite of authentic and free.

It’s about forgiveness and true change because of the sacrifice of Jesus – there is nothing we can add.  We are loved and accepted totally by our heavenly Father through Christ – may we no longer strive and settle for a false acceptance from men, wearing masks on the stage of religion. No masks are needed!  Real, genuine, authentic and free – that is the relationship Jesus has with us, at this very moment.  So, go ahead, throw in the towel on religion and live authentic and free in Jesus!

Live loved in Jesus,