Are you convinced Jesus wants us to go to church out of habit, guilt, or feeling of duty? If so, I want you to get that thought out of your head.
Religion doesn’t represent our Lord. Religion is the opposite of the character of Jesus. Rules, regulations, repeated sayings, judgement, guilt, and shame aren’t the freedom we find in redemption.
Our Jesus took on the most horrific death knowing we would betray and question Him. Can you imagine with me for a second? Just sit and ponder on the suffering Jesus went through and then think about how we respond to Him today.
He loves us more than we can ever understand. He loves us more than we love our own children. Jesus didn’t support religion; in fact He detested it. He told the Pharisees that on the outside they looked righteous but on the inside they were wicked and their hearts were hardened. They wore fancy robes, followed all the unnecessary laws and traditions, and yet were far from God’s true heart (Matt. 23).
Our Jesus doesn’t look at the outward appearance. God has put this so heavy on my heart lately. In fact, recently I went to a church that didn’t seem to have the Holy Spirit and I thought to myself, wow if this was the only church I knew I wouldn’t even want to attend every Sunday. Just because a church exists, doesn’t mean it’s pleasing to God.
It’s not about how fancy our dress is, how perfect we act, or if we check all the boxes of religion. It’s about our hearts and our permission to let God move.
I just want to tell some people today that the Truth will set you free. Not the truth that your religious rituals tell you; the truth of the almighty power of Jesus Christ. Religion will cause shame, guilt, judgement, and ill feelings. Jesus offers freedom, confidence, healing, and an unexplainable peace.
If you have tried religion and still feel empty inside, let me tell you that isn’t our Jesus. When you experience the Lord’s presence you will leave with a joy you can’t describe. Find a church where they let Jesus shine; where healing, miracles, redemption, and true love are shown.
Church should be a place of rescue for sinners, not a box to check off for the “saints.” We shouldn’t feel right with God because we attend a church service or recite the memorized prayer. We don’t need to confess our sins in a box to a worldly “Father”. We don’t need a rosary to make our prayers effective. The devil will use religion to deceive us.
Imagine following an empty religion and still believing it’s where God wants you. This is what the devil wants because religion won’t set you free. Religion is not God’s will. Jesus is the answer and the victory.
Jesus offers freedom, grace, and mercy and He doesn’t need you to follow stipulations to receive it. Jesus freely gave us our salvation and we don’t have to chant the same prayers on Sunday mornings in order to experience it.
I encourage you today to read your Bible. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s because it’s just that important. If you feel like this resonated with you, ask God to open your eyes and show you if you are in the right church (or to find the right church). God wants to free us more than we even want to be freed. God doesn’t love you any more or less if you say, or don’t say, the right things on Sunday morning. He loved you from the very start and He won’t stop now. Let Jesus truly set you free!!
Hannah Smith, author of the Moving Mountains blog, is a woman who feels she has experienced a lot of life in her 30 years.
At 19 years old, Hannah joined the Army. After moving around the country, getting a divorce and losing what seemed like everything, she landed back where God wanted her in Ohio, even though she fought the whole way. She is now in charge of the prayer team at her church and seeks the Lord with all she’s got.
Hannah is married and a RN, but works as a stay-at-home mom to her daughter, Isabella, and her son, Grayson.
She loves to hike, travel, drink coffee, and talk about Jesus. Hannah also has a heart to create a home and life in which she can be a safe place for the hurting and the broken.
To her readers, Hannah says, “I believe that God set every single one of you reading this apart, for such a time as this. It is my hope and prayer that God would use the words I say to change your life in a way you and I never thought possible!”