Just A Thought…

I was talking with a friend of mine about some struggles he has been having and as I was listening to him, something dawned on me that I never thought of before.  It occurred to me that most of us believe that “religion” (defined as doing things because we’re supposed to and not really for Jesus) is something we struggle with because it has been inposed on us by others.  It’s their fault.  Religion is something someone else shoved on me.

But as I was listening I became aware of something in my heart that I believe may happen more than we realize: Religion isn’t something that is forced upon us.  It’s something we choose.  We take it as a taskmaster.  Somewhere along the line someone defines Christian spirituality for us.  Not every time they define it are they accurate…I know people who would say that spirituality means to dress a certain way or to celebrate or not celebrate certain days or to drink or eat or not drink or eat something specific.  Obviously none of these things will bring you any closer to God (see here and here).  But some times the definition we receive is actually accurate.  It’s not something made up to make some people spiritual and some not. Where we cross the line into religion is when we decide to become that definition on our own strength, apart from God because we really want to be viewed as special and unique.

It;s at this point where we begin to strive for something apart from God that we cross over into religion, the worst kind of religion-self tyranny. We try to measure up to a standard and when we can’t we begin to judge ourselves worse than anyone else ever would.  Because we don’t know we’re accepted by God and we think being accepted by spiritual people will help ease our pain, we do things that we were only designed to do by the enabling of God.  The result is usually burn out and defeat.  We swear we will never do that again…but honestly that depends on whether we really want to be accepted again badly enough.

I bring this all up to say that we need to stop pointing our fingers at others for bringing us into religion if we really wanted to go there ourselves in the first place.  And those of us burned by religion need to admit to ourselves that the definition may not have been the problem as much our desire to go their on our own was  the problem.  In the end we (myself very much included) need to go back to the source of life (Jesus, the God-Man) and ask for His help to not remain where we are, but by His enabling and by His enabling only to journey after the deep things of God.  Only then will we be truly satisfied.

Take what you want from that…they’re only thoughts…

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About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

4 responses to “Just A Thought…”

  1. Sasquatch says :

    That hurts.

  2. traviskolder says :

    Ummm…it wasn’t supposed to…care to comment?

    Travis

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  1. The Wayback Machine: July « Pursuing Glory - July 31, 2010
  2. The WayBack Machine: July « Pursuing Glory - July 31, 2011

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