Number 31 in the series “God Rocks: 101 Amazing Everyday Gifts!” Stories and promises of the awesome blessings God gives us each day. I hope it encourages you today!
I enjoyed the church I grew up in as a kid. I hung out with my buddies, talked with cute girls in our youth group. I mean what’s not to like?
When I was really young I didn’t have to go to worship services which I thought was pretty cool.
But then as I grew older I had to attend the services. Singing hymns I didn’t understand. Not a catchy tune in the bunch. Rituals that seemed mysterious. And sermons delivered with fervor yet somehow detached from my life.
So after high school I left. I set out to find my life apart from religion and I did.
Yet, eventually it became a bit messy.
So when a friend told me about having a relationship with God just by faith alone and not through religion it tweaked my curiosity. Eventually I started this new adventure with great expectancy. Honestly it was amazing at first.
Then I got involved in a church, attending for a few years. And watched as the joy slowly drained out as I was smothered by religion again.
I dropped out of church for a couple of years then found another. Enjoyed it but eventually found myself frustrated with all the religious stuff again.
Left there to pastor a church for ten years. Drove some of the people crazy starting new things in the service and when they became ritual I’d drop them.
I’ve realized my spiritual journey has always been about coming back to simply living in faith and unwinding the shackles of religion. Trusting simply in God’s grace to bless me and not trying to earn it somehow.
And as I rediscover that a freshness and excitement always flows again.
It’s what Jesus talked about when he said, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17 NLT)
Jesus didn’t come to add a few ingredients to the mix and come up with a new religion. No, he came to fulfill religion so we don’t need to. He offers us a relationship with him apart from religion which results in the most amazing life we can imagine.
Religion or real life? We get to choose.
How have you found the difference in your own life?
Please share your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter or email me. Thanks.