Religion

My constant prayer is for revival in the American Church and God’s daily response to me is religion. The simple definition of religion is: man’s attempt to appease a god; God’s word says my works “are as filthy rags”, definitely not an appeasement but an insult. I have been drawn back to Eve’s temptation several times in the past 24 hours thinking about the twist of God’s word that the serpent spoke to her. First she saw the fruit and thought it looked good and then the slight correction of God’s definition of death, “surly you will not die” and she was deceived. Like so many lost people I spent years looking at Christianity as foolish and fake because church people just had different rules and they looked boring. I have to say that my encounter with Jesus turned my world upside down and I spent years trying to learn and conform to the new rules of Christianity and today I am so thankful God has always pushed back on my efforts. I can’t say that I have always seen His redirection as positive but more as frustration at constantly failing to be able to live up to the standard. I started my journey in a church that focused on the outward appearance filled with prideful, judgmental people that put a spotlight on my broken spirit and not the miracle of my salvation. Growth was so stifled by my inner resentment of wearing the one and only dress I owned to every event, by having my salvation questioned because I could not control my cigarette addiction, the teaching that if I wanted to be right with God I would have to take my abusive husband back, no matter how much I read and prayed I could not change my own heart. When I came to the realization that I was not good enough for God and was ready to quit my brother gave some advice that to this day I hang on to. He simply said stop trying to fix the outside God will get to it when He is ready, He has to untangle all the mess on the inside first, (my interpretation of what he said). I had never looked at Christianity as an inward change before that day even as I write that down I am convinced this is the failure of the church. Many times I have told Sunday school classes and bible study groups, stories about my experiences waiting tables on Sunday afternoons. Every restaurant I have ever worked in has a common hatred of Sunday afternoons; “the church people” are very much a deterrent for servers to even listen to the plan of salvation. Religion destroys people because no matter what it is selling the people must manufacture it, works, faith, wealth, even poverty are all things American churches require as proof of salvation. I must say that I have not arrived and I have fallen into this trap more than once, I have walked away and spent years discouraged and doubting everything I believed or even experienced, thankfully God is faithful and in His mercy and grace I have returned to my “first love”. Today is not about pride or success but urgency, it is about kicking against religion and idols in my life and seeking Him with all my heart mind and soul like my life depends on it. Revival is not the Spiritual awakening I have been anticipating but a humbling that I am completely unprepared for.

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