Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Quit Religion

I heard a quote on a TV show recently that went like this:

"Religion is like a drug. In small amounts it's curative, but in larger doses it becomes addictive."

I agree with that quote. I so agree with it.

I have decided to quit religion. I think I have been living that stated position for some time, but I now draw the line in the sand behind me. I am walking away from religion. By religion, I mean the second definition given in the dictionary: Details of belief as taught or discussed. This is the world's working definition of religion. And most church-goers think of religion in this way, too. Never mind that the first definition is : The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.

I have decided that going to a "church" is being religious. Walking in the doors of a church building, and sitting in a pew for an hour or two is a religion. So is communion--the way it is taken is religious. The way we sit and watch the performers on stage as they preach and sing is religion. Most all of the public prayers I hear in a church service are religious. How some churches present the gospel and how to be saved is MOST DEFINITELY RELIGIOUS.

So how am I to be a Christian and a member of the body of Christ, that is the church, without being religious? How do I keep clean from the drug?

I have struggled with this question for years. I truly believe that, besides Catholic, I was raised in one of the most religious groups there is out there. I have survived a very strong addiction to the drug religion.

It all seems to boil down to this: what to do and what not to do. That's it. That is religion, in my humble opinion.

Does this mean we, as Christians, do whatever we want? Does this mean all of Paul's teachings about what to do and what not to do are to be ignored? Is there not a plan of salvation? What about the rules? Rules are for babes in Christ. The fact that many don't seem to graduate beyond the rules is evidence of religion. Religion is birthed from the womb of fear and control.

What I mean is this: yes, there are things a Christian should and should not do. But it's what MOTIVATES that action that is paramount. Is it rules or faith? Is it milk or meat? Do I stop bad language from coming out of my mouth because it's wrong or because my kids might hear? Or do I stop because the Spirit led me to read Ephesians 4:29-30 one morning and it convicted me? I responded to this because I did not want to grieve the Spirit. I love the Lord, and it grieves me when I realize my flippant choices hurt Him in any way. He hung on that cross because I chose to use bad language. Because I chose to watch those movies. Because I chose to read those books. Because I gossiped about that person. Because I chose not-God.

People who try to tell me (with a smile) that it's just a book or it's just a movie--it's not like you cheated on your husband or killed anyone--don't get it. Because Jesus said:

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[b][c] will be subject to judgment.


27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[e] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Can you live by these standards? You can try, but you won't make it. Trust me. It's not about religion. It's about being perfect. And we are made perfect because we were saved. And I choose to stop using bad language, to stop watching HBO or R-rated movies, to stop reading trash, and to stop talking about others because He chose to save me. I am so thankful. And I am so done with religion.


True repentance has a distinct and constant reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you repent of sin without looking to Christ, away with your repentance. If you are so lamenting your sin as to forget the Savior, you have a need to begin all this work over again. Whenever we repent of sin, we must have one eye upon sin and another upon the cross; or, better still, let us have both eyes upon Christ, seeing our sin punished in him, and by no means let us look at sin except as we look at Jesus. A man may hate sin just as a murder hates the gallows but this does not prove repentance. If I hate sin because of the punishment, I have not repented of sin; I merely regret that God is just.

But if I can see sin as an offense against Jesus Christ, and loathe myself because I have wounded him, then I have a true brokenness of heart. If I see the Savior and believe that those thorns upon his head were put there by my sinful words; if I believe that those wounds in his heart were made by my heart-sins; if I believe that those wounds in his feet were made by my wandering steps, and that the wounds in his hands were made by my sinful deeds, then I repent after a right fashion. Only under the cross can you repent. Repentance elsewhere is remorse, which clings to the sin and only dreads the punishment. Let us then seek, under God, to have a hatred of sin caused by a sight of Christ's love.

by Charles Spurgeon

Get up to your chamber, then, poor sinner, if you would have a broken and contrite spirit, and come not out until you have it. Remember, you will never feel so broken in heart as when you can see Jesus bearing all your sins; faith and repentance are born together, and aid the health of each other.

Law and terrors do but harden,
All the while they work alone;
But a sense of blood bought pardon,
Will dissolve a heart of stone.

by John Bradford