Ditching Christianity in Pursuit of Christ
Here it goes- I ditched Christianity in pursuit of Christ. Now before you close this article tab and completely write me off, bear with me. I am going somewhere with this, I promise. What I’m not saying here is that I’m not a Christian. I am 100% a born-again believer. I believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and rose again to reestablish a connection between the Heavenly Father and man. But I also believe there has been hyperfocus on Christianity the religion and not enough focus on Christ.
What I am saying is that I’ve noticed a pattern in modern-day religion that puts the rules and practices of religion above being more like Christ. Modern-day Christianity seems to over-emphasize the do’s and don’ts and puts a lot of weight on all the things to avoid if one wants to get to heaven and avoid hell.
But what about what I think is the real message of Christianity? What about the love of God? When I first gave my life to Christ as a child and then rededicated my life to Christ as a young adult, what drew me into the Kingdom wasn’t fear of going to hell or a desire to fit into a group of superior beings. Rather, I was touched by the love of a God that would send His son to die for my sins before I was ever a thought in my mother’s head, knowing all the wrong I’d ever do. I was touched by the forgiveness of a Heavenly Father who didn’t see my sins as my identity. I was gripped by the grace of a God who would restore me and redeem me after the mistakes I had made and experiences I had walked through.
It was the love of God that lifted me, and it was the love of God that I wanted to embody in my daily life. It’s not so much that I stopped believing it was necessary to obey biblical commands. It’s that I felt there was way more emphasis on following biblical and religious protocol than there was on the saving grace and redeeming power of God. It’s that I felt people cared more about appearances than actually exhibiting and displaying the unconditional love of Christ.
So I started to study the Bible to really see who God was and how Jesus operated when He walked the Earth. I may not know everything about Christianity, but I know God’s Word is true and that it stands the test of time. It was as I studied the Word of God and learned more about the nature of God that I saw in Jesus what it seems the Christian church as a whole has forgotten.
We serve a God whose love for us knows no bounds. His love isn’t based on our performance or perfection. He doesn’t love us more when we do right and less when we do wrong. He doesn’t love us more when we serve and give and less when we don’t. He doesn’t pull his love away from us when we stray or make mistakes. God’s love is unending and unchanging, period.
So why then are we so quick to deny love to people who look different than us, believe differently than us, or behave differently than us? It’s a common misconception that to love someone means to condone their inappropriate behavior, beliefs, or lifestyles. That is not the case! You can love a person and not love their actions. You can embrace a person but not their beliefs. It’s literally what parents fo every single day when their children make poor choices, and it’s what God does when we make poor choices. Thus, as the church and a representation of Christ, we are called to offer the same to the world.
God was not and is not looking for perfection. The twelve disciples were Jesus’ closest friends and yet they all were flawed in some way. Judas betrayed Jesus and Matthew was a dishonest tax collector, yet Jesus kept them close and worked through all of them to draw people into the Kingdom. And some of the most notable and influential people in the Bible were also some of the most imperfect. The Bible tells us that David was a man after God’s own heart despite the fact that he was a murderer and an adulterer.
God is never looking for perfection. Rather, He’s looking for a humble and willing heart. He already knows we’ll make mistakes, and that doesn’t push Him away or turn Him off. Honestly, it enthuses Him because when God works through the obviously imperfect person it can only point back to Christ.
If God had no issues embracing imperfect people, why do we? As it’s often said, a hospital is for sick people, not people who are well. And the church should be a place where people find refuge, not rejection. Rather than turn people away because they don’t meet all the criteria or obey all the rules, we need to welcome people who are hurting and broken.
Our God is merciful and graceful. He doesn’t bind us to our past or condemn us because of our failures. Our God forgives us freely and without hesitation when we ask for forgiveness. Not only that, but He also forgets our sins, separating them from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalms 103:12).
So why do we seem to hold people to their past forever? Who are we to judge? Who are we to condemn? Colossians 3: 13 (NLT) tells us, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” So we need to practice the art of forgiving and focus on righting our own wrongs as opposed to pointing out the flaws of others and holding those sins against them.
So this isn’t a story of me abandoning Christianity in favor of some new-age religion. This is simply a tale of me getting back to the root of Christianity- God’s unfailing and unending love for us. I want anyone who comes into contact with me to have an encounter with Christ. I want to love of God that so deeply encompasses me to flow so freely through me that people leave my presence better than when they entered it. I want to embody the fruits of the spirit in a way that clearly represents the God I serve. In doing all that I believe people will be drawn to Christ and into the Kingdom with ease.