True Faith Isn’t Religious. It’s REAL.


Our weekly “Get Real” post from Donna Jones:

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True Faith Isn’t Religious. It’s Real.

Whenever someone finds out JP is a pastor they pretty much say the same thing: “Oh, so then you’re really religious.”

I don’t like being called religious. In my mind being “religious” carries a negative connotation. I much prefer to think of myself as a cool “I don’t have a religion, I have a relationship with God” kind of girl. But I might be more religious than I care to admit. Here’s why: religious people do funny things (not as in “ha-ha” funny, but as in totally screwed-up funny) with their sin.

Some of us minimize sin. “Sin” is something we dealt with before we were believers or in the early days of our walk with God. But now? Oh heavens, we pretty much have the Christian thing down pat. Sure, we might commit small sins, but who doesn’t? We don’t drink too much, swear too much or lie too much. We’re not perfect, but we’re pretty darn nice (at least in our own heads). We believe our own press rather the God’s perspective. This becomes somewhat problematic because “perfect” people are pretenders. And here, my sweet fellow religious people, is the dangerous part: Unless I admit my ongoing sin problem I’ll waltz through life living in light of my own goodness. I’ll think Oh sure, I needed a savior once. But now? Well, now I’m good on my own.

Jesus will just be a nice add-on to my good religious life instead of the centerpiece of my fully redeemed life.

I won’t be in love with Jesus. I’ll be in love with me. I won’t reflect His image because I’ll be too obsessed polishing mine.

And I’ll wonder Is this real Christianity? Shouldn’t there be more?

Some of us, though, fall on the other end of the spectrum. We know we should follow God’s Word, but we’d really rather do our own thing, thank you very much. And for the true believer this poses a problem. John tells us this in plain English. “ We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands” (1 John 2:5).

So how do we respond when God’s Word tells us to do something we’d rather not? Like say, keep our mouth shut rather than gossip. Or stop spending so much money on ourselves that we have none to share with others. Or let go of bitterness. Or stop the secret sin. Or turn the other cheek. Or love the person we’d love to hate.

I’ll tell you exactly what we religious people do: We try to bend God’s Word to fit our lifestyle choices rather than bend our lifestyle choices to fit God’s Word.

Which is really just another way of saying I’m in love with me more than I’m in love with God.

Yeah, I know. Ouch. These words aren’t just for you. They are for me, too.

I told you we religious people do whacky things with our sin.

Which is why Jesus is so utterly wonderful. He’s so kind. So merciful. So patient. He takes our religion and makes us righteous. He takes our putrid sin and purifies us to our very core. He sees right through our religious shenanigans and calls us to something more.

To something real.

Jesus is our advocate and our ally. He’s the almighty redeemer for those of us brave enough and humble enough to admit “I desperately need you. Every minute. Every day.”

No, it’s not very religious to live this way, all humble and needy and broken.

But it is real.

“God, move in a way I’ve never seen before. And move me. Amen”

 

Check back every Monday for a new “Get Real” post from Donna Jones.