"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.