I get that question a lot. Let me tell you the answer. It's NO.
If you've followed my blog at all you know that I have traveled a LOT. We have been very blessed to have traveled all over the world for most of our marriage and have been able to take the girls to a lot of those places as well. With that said, we have been exposed to many places, cultures, religions and so on... So we get that question asked to us quite often when we travel to Europe each summer and I've thought about this question A LOT.
So I started thinking about my ANSWER too.
How do I share my FAITH when people ask me that question?
I'll be honest and tell you that I've had a hard time answering that question, on the spot. The answer is NO, I'm not a RELIGIOUS person, I'm a Christian... but that doesn't explain it very well does it?
Here's my long version of an answer...
To me RELIGION is man's way. It's something man made up to try and work their way to Heaven.
Religion to me means:
Traditions: Something Man/Church made to instill devotion and control
Works: We have to do lots of WORK to have a hope of the reward of Heaven
and a lot of Guilt: I failed again, I need to work harder, I HAVE to do this, that and the other...
Let me stop here and say that I'm certainly not trying to offend anyone here. These are merely my opinions/thoughts that I'm sharing on my blog.
Now let me try to explain what I mean when I say I am a CHRISTIAN:
First off, as a Christian I have FAITH. I know, that's a word that is thrown around a LOT. "just have Faith man"... You gotta have Faith"...
But here's what the Bible says FAITH is:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
Yes, I have FAITH... by that I mean I BELIEVE what the bible says. I believe that it's the infallible work of God. I believe God made us (first with Adam and Eve) perfect in His own image and then gave them/us FREE WILL to do whatever we choose with our lives. But after they sinned, man was no longer perfect. And before you go start blamming Adam and Eve for all the SIN/BAD STUFF in the world... whose to say that if YOU were ADAM or EVE you wouldn't have sinned? You can SAY it, but come on... We ALL are Adam and Eve.
I believe that we all are born into sin. We are not born perfect. That we have NO HOPE of every being perfect and being able to go to Heaven on our own.
But GOD made a plan for us!
He gives us FREE WILL to choose HIM. I had this question asked of me this summer. "Why didn't God make Adam and Eve NOT sin?" He could have done it.
Yes he could have, but did he want just a bunch of ROBOTS? or did he want us to CHOOSE to love him and follow him? Would WE want to be ROBOTS? I mean I know we live in the age of computers, but would WE really want to be computers, doing ONLY want the keyboard tells us to do... I think not.
So getting back to that plan...
That plan IS Jesus Christ. Not was, but IS. Because that plan is perfect for yesterday, today and tomorow. For anyone who believes. Period, end of story.
We all know the story I think. He took our sins upon him on the cross and He died on that cross. He suffered for OUR SINS, not his. He beared the pain and torture and humiliation for YOU/US. He didn't have to do it. He is GOD (John 10:30; Isaiah 9:6; John 14:9) and could have said no.
But he did it for ALL OF US. For every single person on this planet; yesterday, today and tomorrow. To have a HOPE and a PEACE that we can KNOW that we are FORGIVEN and can now be PERFECT through HIM and have a place in heaven some day!
All we have to do is BELIEVE that He did this for us, confess our sins to Him, and ACCEPT Him into our lives.
This is a FREE GIFT.
"For the wages of SIN is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
Now we can put our trust in Him and accept his GIFT of GRACE for our lives. Then we can start a personal RELATIONSHIP with Christ, not a RELIGION.
This gets me back to the differences between RELIGION & a RELATIONSHIP.
I found this great website (sorry, can't find it back) that had a table with the differences and I decided to copy some of them and add some and create a list to post here.
It's kind of small but you can click on it to see a bigger version. I encourage everyone to take a look at it and see what your answer is. Jesus is the answer and the answer is easy because he did all the work.
Here is a guy who posted a YouTube video with an answer to this question:
He explains the answer in a rap, but it's pretty powerful. Try to ignore the hearing empared wording at the bottom b/c it doesn't say it word for word to what he is saying.
Bottom line to me is that Jesus didn't come to the earth to create another RELIGION. He didn't ask them to convert to a religous way. He simply asked people to FOLLOW HIM. Here is a great explanation of this on Youth for Christ's website.
So, my answer is this: I don't follow a religion, I follow Christ. My example is HIS life.
I'm not perfect, I make mistakes all. the. time. But I know that he LOVES me, he has FORGIVEN me, and I can try to live for Him and simply share my LOVE for HIM with others. Saw this on Instagram and had to repost:
That is my prayer.
Casting Crowns is a great band who sings so many great songs. I encourage you to listen to the songs below and then find them on iTunes and get some of their songs.
I hope this encourages you today as you seek your own answer to this question.
Have a BLESSED day,