What does being a Christian Believer mean to you? Is it about 7 to 12-step programs or manmade rules? I’ve had many conversations with individuals who were involved in congregations that imposed burdens on the congregates with many manmade rules that took away their “joy!” One woman confessed her husband left her because she allowed leadership to control what she could or couldn’t do even in her own home. She also stated that the women of the congregation were made to do all the menial work along with the assignment of preparing food for every event. Another woman shared a similar story but added when tragedy hit her and her husband, leadership was unable to comfort them. Their comfort was in the form of a “rebuke” to “shake it off and move on.” This woman ended up leaving the Church (Body of Christ) angry with God for her loss because the leaders of this particular congregation was more concerned with rules and procedures, than her wounded soul.
Father God wants all of His children to live a “victorious life” as a Christian Believer, but not bound with manmade rules and regulations. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for burdening the people with rules they imposed on the people, but won’t acknowledge the rules for themselves (Matthew 23:13-36). In other words, they didn’t practice what they preached!
A Christian’s life with Jesus Christ is not found in strategic planning. Our relationship with God is not build on a 7-Step plan for reading the Bible or a 7-Step plan for praying. God is not limited to manmade steps. Are these steps wrong? No! These 7-Step plans are probably perfect for the individual who wrote them, but not everyone is created with the same convictions. We are not all convicted to rise at 6:00 a.m. to have prayer time with God! We are not all convicted to have our devotions done or Bible read before we leave the house! Everyone has different schedules and activities, not to mention children. Am I advocating that you shouldn’t read or study the Bible or not pray daily? No! What we should do is partner with God ourselves and let Holy Spirit guide us into what is best for us as an individual so that we can have quality time with the Lord without feeling guilty for not following a 7 or 12-Step Program to guide us.
God matures and works with each of us through His principles and precepts found only in His Word – the Bible! God matures us as we STUDY the Word! God speaks to us through His anointed preachers and teachers. Our relationship is built with God as we SEEK Him in PRAYER. Our relationship is built with God as we LOOK to Him with our decision-making. Our relationship is built with God as we LOOK to Him as our Heavenly FATHER and acknowledge Him as our FATHER!
Christianity is a lifestyle with God, not a book of rules and regulations. Moses prayed to God asking Him to “show me your way!” Moses was asking God to “teach me who you are God!” Moses’ prayer was answered! Psalm 103:7 reveals to us that God made known His ways to Moses and His acts to the children of Israel. When we seek God with our whole heart, He will answer us! God loves us very much and delights in being in a personal relationship with each of His children. I love the scripture in Exodus 33:11 in what God says about Moses: “the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend…” Do you want God to speak to you face-to-face as a friend?
Christianity to me is a lifestyle of knowing God’s will for my life. Christianity to me is living life by faith in God believing He only has my best interest at heart. Christianity to be me means I am “free!” Manmade rules and regulations about one’s faith in God keeps them bound! When we study the lives of the “men of faith” in the Bible, we learn that they lived by the very breath of every word of God. So Christianity, from what I have learned from the Word, is obedience to the Word of God as written in the Bible, and God says His words are not grievous. First John 5:3 reads “for this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments and His commandments are not grievous.” What are God’s commandments? Let’s look at Matthew 22:37-39 for our answer. These verses of scripture instruct us to “love God with all our heart, soul and mind,” this is the first commandment and the second is to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves. These two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Friends, we need to study and know the Word of God for ourselves so we won’t be deceived by manmade rules like the Pharisees of old did to the children of Israel.
Finally, I would like to leave you with Colossians 2:16; 20-21 “so let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ……Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations – do not touch, do not taste, do not handle, which all concern things which perish with the using – according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”
So my question to you today is, “what does Christianity mean to you, how are you serving the Lord?” Remember Christ died to set the captives free and those whom Christ set free are free indeed!
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