By Ally B
I remember being a senior in high school and because I was leading a freshman bible study I had to sign a form saying I wouldn’t drink alcohol on Prom night. I asked my group of friends who were also involved with the bible study if my date and I could be in their group for Prom. They said no and that the group was already full. I was extremely hurt and frustrated by my "good Christian friends". From that point on I was so turned off by this whole religious thing. I just didn’t understand.
There were two more times in my life I remember specifically being frustrated with the church or religious people that caused me to want nothing to do with God. One time where I actually asked my church why we did certain traditions and never really got an explanation, and another where someone from one denomination told me I was going to hell because I was another denomination. I just didn’t understand.
David’s message this week reminded me a lot of these times in my life where my frustration with religion and religious people caused me to throw my hands up and walk away from God. I had put Christ into this religious box and threw him out with religion.
Paul also wanted nothing to do with Jesus. He even says, "I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem." He imprisoned people, voted for people to die, punished and persecuted people, all in opposition of Jesus. (Acts 26:9-11)
Jesus came to Paul and asked him why he was doing all of this (Acts 16:14). In the same way I feel that God brought me to a place where I was tired of fighting against him…tired of turning my back on him…why was I rejecting him?
You see the problem with throwing Christ out with religion is that "Jesus did not come to give a religion, but to restore a broken relationship."
Jesus said to Paul, "I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me."
HE CAME SO THAT WE WOULD HAVE FORGIVENESS.
There may have been times in your life where religious people frustrated/hurt you, but don’t put Christ into the religion box and throw him out. Doing that you are rejecting forgiveness and relationship.
"Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin." (Acts 13:38-39)
Praying for you all~