Tag Archives: Religious Fog

The Fog of Religion

I’m going to talk about something today that will not be very popular with many people.  This has to do with the religious veil that is pulled over many of our faces still to this day.  A veil that Jesus himself brought down and that was torn in two, forever opening the door to the Father through Christ.  I guess it’s appropriate that this is on my mind today on Ash Wednesday.  This day is observed by many as the start of Lent, leading up to Easter.  Even before I fully came into my faith, something never sat right with me about it all.  Now that my eyes have been opened, I see it more clearly.

We have a serious religious problem across the Christian faith.  I guess it’s bound to happen over a 2,000 year period as messages get skewed and people begin to prop themselves up through the creation of new religious practices.  While Lent and Ash Wednesday are not referenced anywhere in Scripture, I don’t have an issue with people that want to observe this time.  The problem lies in the motives of the heart.  There are many people and I know many, that use the time leading up to Lent to indulge however they want. To live like hell and just whatever.  Then Lent comes, they get the ashes on their forehead and then portray to be living a like a Christian for 40 days.  Easter comes and goes and right back to life as usual.  Living a life in Christ.  Seeking holiness and sanctification is not for only 40 day out of the 365 days we have each year.  This is meant to be a 24/7 365 life.  People think that this time can make up for the rest of their crazy living.   Doesn’t work that way.

a43673c9d067ac92903fa8250de42be5In his book, ‘Beautiful Outlaw,’ John Eldredge speaks to the religious fog and how Jesus himself was very much anti-religious.  That’s who he went after directly more times than not through the Gospels.  John says this, “The religious fog uses sanctified worlds and activities, things that look and sound very Sunday school to distort our perception of God and our experience of Him.  It is cunning as a snake and adaptive as the flu, infiltrating our practices to make them ever so false.”  Read the Gospels and as John stated, there is one thing that is unmistakably clear…religion is the enemy.  “Every hostile encounter Jesus has is with very “churchy” people.  This spirit is the great enemy of our life with God, and it is this spirit that Jesus warned his boys about when they were whispering in the boat about the bread” (See Matthew 16:6-12).

Religion is a major problem that we to contend with.  Religion is built by man on rules and regulation that continually build up larger walls between man and God.  Jesus tore those walls down.  Our salvation, our freedom, our restoration, our eternity lies with Him and Him alone.  Not in religious practices and rituals.  We are to be disciplined spiritually through prayer, studying and learning Scripture, and so on, but getting caught up in religious discipline and practices can be a real problem and can begin to pull you away from the heart of God.  Following Jesus does not require the burden of religion.  Matthew 11:29-30, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

9780060694425_p0_v2_s192x300Why do we forget this?  There is a cost to following Christ as it will pull you away from many around you, even if you are close them them, if they do not follow as well.  However, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  Jesus did not put up more religious walls to shield us from God.  No…He opened the door. The goal of living a life in Christ is to live as Christ lived.  Not to follow every little thing that He may did, specifically, but to follow His example.  In ‘The Spirit of the Disciplines,’ Dallas Willard explained it this way, “The secret of the easy yoke is simple, actually.  It is the intelligent, informed, unyielding resolve to live as Jesus lived in all aspects of life, not just in the moment of specific choice or action.” 

I have grown to become very much against religion.  Actually, I hate religion.  It is the enemies ploy to skew the message and the Good News to pull us away from the heart of God and truly living our lives in Christ.  Christ is the example, not the pompous religious pharisees of today that prance around with so much pomp and circumstance just as the pharisees and religious leaders in Jesus’ time did.  Christ challenged them directly and fiercely.  We should not let our lives fall into their trap again.  Clear the religious fog and live in the freedom and restoration found in Christ alone and is directly available to each and everyone of us.

No religious ritual can ever make one’s heart right with God.  That only comes through the grace and spiritual blessings of the Father through the works (life, death, resurrection, and ascension) of Christ Jesus.  Religion keeps you in chains and bondage behind a veil. Jesus tears down the veil, breaks those chains, and sets you free.

He Will Take You As You Are

I used to worry about the strength of my faith and whether or not it was enough for God to let me in.  From the brokenness and junk I dealt with in my life and some of the decisions I made in my sin and brokenness I used to feel like I would never be good enough to come out of it.  I would try my damnedest to, but I was so caught up in myself, my sin, my wounds, my brokenness, that I didn’t know if there was a way out.  Have any of you felt or do any of you feel this way today?  Well, if so, there is some really good news, Jesus will take us as we are.  Not because of what we do, but because of His grace and love that is unending.  As Paul wrote in Titus 3, we are given new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit because of God’s mercy, not for what we do.

If you study the Gospels you see that nature of Jesus and the many, many times we healed people who came to Him.  The blind, the leper, the lame, and many more.  What did not those that he healed do.  They to Him in faith and Jesus would tell them they are healed because of their faith.

You see, there are many all around, especially in the church that believe you have to get all of your junk in order.  You have to fix yourself before you can come to Christ.  You have to learn how to be faithful first and how to follow Jesus.  You have to learn to be a good Christian and follow the religious code.  You have to clean up your act.

THIS IS WRONG!

Look at those that Jesus healed.  We they came to him in faith, He healed them.  What does that mean?  We turn to Jesus in faith and give our lives to Him and then the healing and the cleansing takes place.  Yes, we have to confess our sins.  You can’t not confess your sins.  If you hide it, you are never going to get away from it and move forward.  What does Jesus say? Go and sin no more.  Turn away from what we done, confess it, and leave it at the cross.  Then you can be set free with a new birth and new life that Jesus came bring.

It’s so simple folks.  Get past all of the religious fluff.  All of the hoops that churches make you jump through to become what they deem to be a Christian.  Just turn to Jesus.  Isaiah 61:1, he came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free.  What we have to do ourselves and know that Jesus loves us.  He absolutely unequivocally, unconditionally loves us.  He loves us so much, He was willing, though he suffered greatly, to be brutally tortured including being hung on a cross to die so that we can return to the Father and have the life we were always meant to have.  With that, if we turn to Him in faith and open the door of our hearts to Him, then through the power of the Holy Spirit, He will come deep into our hearts, help find and confess the sins we have, forgive those that wounded us, and we can then have our hearts restored to a new life.  We don’t have to jump through religious hoops first.  It’s all a matter of our own willingness to turn to Christ and let Him in.  He’s banging on the door, we just have to be willing to let Him in.

I can share this because I speak from my experiences.  Remember I said I didn’t know if there was a way out.  I was stuck behind the stained glass.  Behind the religious fog.  It was not until my mid-30s that I realized that the religion was a part of the problem.  Once I did, I turned from religion, which I despise, and opened my heart to Christ.  It’s unbelievable the revival that has taken place in my heart.  I say revival, because Jesus revived the me that was dead.  I restored me to a new life and I found the way out.  It was right there the whole time.

Folks, Jesus will take us as we are.  I am unashamed of my faith in knowing this now and will teach and counsel on this healing and freedom that is available to us all.  Get past the religious fog and open the door so that He can go to work on your heart.  He’s not even done with me yet.  This journey is just beginning in my new life through Christ.  Jesus took me as I was, junk and all, and He will do the same for you.  Just wait and see what happens when He does.