It seems like my desire to write deepens with every passing day. It’s a fleeting day & the cemented words on apage solidify that it happened. It proves that over time I grew, understood, developed. It means that life does mean something & my voice matters because the timeless concepts I handle in my art still scream ‘purpose’ when I pick them up years later.
And I love to write about the church. It’s the bride of God. It is the outlet of love everyone inwardly pines for, even if one tries to quench their desires with more carnal/modern techniques like romance and sex.
With that being said, the church has a lot of problems. Some might have even snickered that I said church was the outlet for love, because too often, it is just…so not that. It is an entangling and binding set of rules, too often condemning you when you mess up and you have to stare at these people who found out your long lasting secret & play religion to make it all better.
This is too often the case.
And I will write until I am blue in the face, & love people, & hopefully one day help steward a church to give people real hope: the hope of the timeless, soul quenching gospel and the warmth and fulfillment of Christian community.
The other day I read an article on the thoughts of Billy Graham’s son. If you haven’t read one of his books, I strongly encourage it because he is able to divide what is religion and what is grace. He is sensitive to the spirit & can break that down for his audience in a book. A charming author, you would be enthralled if you like ‘all things Jesus.’
His article proposed that the modern church is still too hung up on the law. (See my last link on my blog to read it) I can’t agree with him more. It wasn’t until about a year or two ago that I started grasping the concept that reading my bible everyday wasn’t the key to an intimate relationship the Father. I felt like a condemned sinner even proposing this thought in my mind, sucking on it like a new piece of candy, rolling it around on my tongue, trying to drain it of all it was worth. Could this be? The key to holiness that I had been force fed my whole life wasn’t the key to an intimate relationship with the Father at all?
Before all the legalists in the virtual world go crazy, please read…and thoroughly so I don’t have to go back and answer questions I already covered in my blog. (lol that was so blunt)
Reading your bible everyday isn’t the answer.
My Southern Baptist roots just rolled in their grave.
Praying more isn’t the answer.
Every Sunday school teacher in the nation just screamed at my heresy.
A close, grace filled relationship with the father is the key.
Try to hear me through the ludicrous audacity of my next statement before freaking out: Reading your bible as a child of God is like having sex with your husband.
Maybe you have sex everyday, while another couple has sex every 3-6 days. ( I am talking specifically about healthy/happy couples) If someone went to a marriage counselor and they said,”If you do not have sex with your husband EVERYDAY, you will not be close to him. This is the key to a happy marriage. If you do this everyday, you will be happy and totally fulfilled in your marriage.” Silly, right?You’d probably leave with little problems resolved, if any at all. Does the person who has sex less than you have more problems?
Point is: Sex is important, but it’s only compliments of a happy marriage.
If someone reading their bible for any other reason other than intimacy, they are missing the point.
I’m not saying reading the bible doesn’t lead someone to repentance: Yeah, it does. Sex can make two people realize theuir mistakes & realize closeness is more important than their pride too. But please, stop measuring your closeness to Jesus by how much bible you read each day or week. Or anything else for that matter.
How close am I to Jesus? I used to measure it with how often I had read my bible because that’s what I had been programmed to do. Often I have feelings of guilt & shame because I just didn’t measure up. Or even worse, I would read my bible everyday & be under the impression I was close to God and make others feel less than me. I think that might be even worse because at the point I am a delusional pharisee. Am I yearning for Jesus, do I cry out to Him for my deepest needs to be loved, am I willing to share with others the excitement of a personal relationship? Reading my bible reminds me of that, but God shines through anything He wants. He’s GOD. The bible is an outlet. An awesome outlet, a beautiful love letter from abba to His children, but still, an outlet.
Bringing home flowers to your wife, ironing your husband’s clothes, cooking each other dinner can bring you just as close and is just as important as sex.
Do you see the parallel?
Am I dissuading anyone from getting on their hands and knees at 6 AM and crying out to Jesus. Absolutely not. Oh my goodness, do that, wow, please. But that act doesn’t make you Holy, the emotion, the thirst for Jesus behind the act makes you holy. Jesus came to fulfill the law, meaning all the law does is show us how impure we are on our own. Knowing you didn’t read your bible everyday or witness to enough people will not make you closer to Jesus, it just shames you & get this: it doesn’t make you do it more. In fact, it makes you do it less because honey attracts more mosquitoes than vinegar.
It’s about BEING with God. God doesn’t hear your words, & I’m pretty sure He doesn’t hyper focus on your acts. Your life is an offering, & the scent rises to His nose, & if it is good, He showers with blessings (in any form he chooses) and then we respond by the powerful act of God’s hand on our life. I am convinced Jesus doesn’t even hear our words when we pray. I think He smells the fragrance of our heart as we lift it to heaven. If it is self righteous, we remain unfulfilled because he turns his face away in disgust and we remain on earth, void of love because we are missing the point and God will not be mocked.
I am convinced that remembering a myriad of bible verses & learning the hymns & understanding the knowledge of the gospel is beautiful, but it’s not the core of what we need in order to be the ministers to this world: it’s resting in His peace. Those things just facilitate in that. If this were so, what about the people in other parts of the world who can only know Jesus through receiving dreams & the gospel is outlawed?
My knowledge fails me every time, because when I want to sin, everything I mentally know is of no value. It is the times that God’s arms are holding me so tight that I feel no need to venture out into darkness, or act in my flesh & respond in anything but love.
So, in what to do in order to have a more grace filled church?
You are still missing the point if you asked that question.
It’s not about your actions, those will come with a heart inclined to the whispers of the spirit. They whisper through the trees in a walk through nature as you worship His creation. His love tickles your soul when you cry out to Him in a worship song, or play an instrument. He is here with me now, guiding my fingers over the keyboard as I struggle to tell the evangelical church what it is often missing: authentic grace.
Reside in that grace, let it change your mentality. It’s not about what we need to do, it’s about the spirit transforming souls, subsequently transforming the pattern of our minds. If our mentality changes on what the point of church is all about, when we say “read your bible” it wont have a spirit of condemnation any longer because that spirit will vanish.
And where the spirit of the Lord is, there is actual liberty. Not chains masquerading as freedom: actual freedom to go grab your bible, instead of being lead to it by shame.