Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Rethink Jesus: Part 3

In part three of the “Rethink Jesus” series, Chad further opened our minds as he posed the question that Jesus posed to Peter in Matthew 16:15: “Who do you say I am?" We were then shown a video of people on the street giving their opinions of who they thought Jesus was and what they thought of Christians too. It was interesting to hear the many different answers.

How about you? Who is Jesus to you? Are you one of the many who thinks of the word “religion” when his name comes to mind? Chad talked about “religion” and what it meant back in Jesus‘ culture. He said that the Pharisees and Sadducees were the keepers of the law and that they were all about “religion” and “rules.” All of that made living one’s faith pretty tough because there was such a burdensome yoke on their shoulders. There were so many expectations and regulations set for them to obey. Even now, I think that’s how many people still view Jesus and Christianity today - because there are so many churches, doctrines, and “rules.”

However, that’s exactly what Jesus came to overcome. He came to sacrifice himself for our sins so that we could have eternal life and a relationship with Him. He came to set us free from the bondage of legalism and perfection; so we wouldn’t be bogged down with trying to “earn” our salvation by doing everything by the book. Yet, so many people don’t yet understand that we don’t have to “earn” what we have already been freely given - I even had a hard time with that for a while! However, the Lord worked on me, and once I really grabbed hold of the truth, I was delivered from legalism and perfectionism. It’s all about HIM and what HE DID FOR ME that saves me - not anything I can do to save myself. It‘s like what Chad was saying…if anyone could save themselves, we wouldn‘t need a SAVIOR!! ;)

Being a Christian isn’t about perfection and doing everything “right.” Jesus loves and accepts you just the way you are!! He just wants a RELATIONSHIP with you!! He doesn’t want our rituals and rules. The only “rule” He has is to love God with all our being and to love others as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). In a nutshell, “Love God; love others.” If you are living by that, the rest falls into place as you walk in that truth!

Jesus said in Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." When you are in Christ and accept His salvation, you are not under law; you are under GRACE!! You aren’t enslaved to the law and “rules.” If you are, then do what Chad suggested and “kill the Pharisee” within yourself. Believe me, it is the best thing you could ever do!! Living under the grace of God is true freedom; and indeed, a much lighter burden!!

So, if you think that Jesus is a “religion” think again!! Christianity is “not a religion, it’s a relationship.” It’s about Jesus Christ and following HIM; that is why we are CHRISTians. Don’t worry about rules and doctrine; just follow God!! That’s all you need to do!! Give Jesus a chance!! You won’t regret it!!

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