Have you ever been fully devoted to your religion? Did you love going to church, mass, mosque or to temple? Were you in love with the personal elevation that your commitment provided?
Did God begin to tug at your heart and say, “Let it go”?
And then did you reply as did Peter, “Not so, Lord!”? . . . But eventually you surrendered to Him?
If you once depended on the acceptance that you received from others at church, and the purpose that your obedience to your religion gave you, and if you have walked away . . . then you are a rare specimen whom I’d like to meet (leave a comment below!), just like Suzette once did.
Suzette left a comment on one of my blog posts this summer, and from there an email correspondence began. Two weeks later, in August 2017, despite the fact that our homes are 1,200 miles apart, we were able to meet in person! While traveling to a family wedding, my three teenagers and I needed to wait around the Sacramento airport for a few hours before my husband’s arrival. Turns out it was Suzette’s day off of work. As my kids sat and stared at their phones, I got to meet my new sister in Christ and fellowship with her amidst all the Baggage Claim carousels. 🙂
Despite the groovy Gododoincidence that allowed us to meet face-to-face, what has actually bonded our friendship is our shared experience with being die-hard legalists.
We didn’t burn out, we were pulled out of Church by God’s direction.
Having been set free for ten years now, I have come to realize that people like Suzette and I are unique. It seems that most people tire of their Churchianity slowly, like the fire from a candle that has been burning for hours and slowly extinguishes itself.
Suzette and I, on the other hand, were more like a firework that was sparkling and alive one minute, and then completely gone the next. As a Bible Study leader once told me, “Oh! You were a modern-day-Pharisee. That’s pretty rare!”
Of course, that wasn’t true. Nobody has ever come close to the ambitious zeal of the Pharisees.
“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew 5:20)
Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that Suzette and I loved church. Why? It gave us an outlet for our religious pride!
We loved how much “better” we were compared to those lesser folks who didn’t work as hard. We loved how good we were at obeying all of the rules. We loved how important we were in the eyes of others. We were convinced that we were “serving God,” and we loved that! It’s gross, isn’t it!? That is what the sin of religious pride feels like, and it sickens me to remember those times. Obvioulsy we were totally deceived and in error, but nonetheless, the fact remains: church energized us.
If you are in the same boat, and if God is tugging at your heart to quit church . . . please follow His leading. Don’t be afraid. If the Lord is leading you that way, say, Yes, Lord!
Jesus wants to set you free from the bondage of religion. He wants to be your God, instead of church being your god. Trust Him! You won’t be disappointed.
You will no longer be wandering in the wilderness of Sinai; He will bring you into the New Covenant. He will lead you right through the door which is Jesus Christ Himself, and He will plant you by the green pastures and still waters of the Promised Land of Rest.
Allow your legalism to kill you. Whether it’s the rules of your denomination or the 613 Mosaic Laws themselves, allow the Law to kill you.
Paul said, “For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God.” Galatians 2:19
Believe the truth that you are completely forgiven, and that He now loves and accepts you on the basis of you being a new creation in Christ.
Allow the Law to kill you so that you might die to the Law and begin living in a close relationship with your God, the Lord Jesus Christ. And if you’d like to hear more on this topic, please check out my blog: Outside of Churchianity.