When I was in Bible College, I met Billy. Billy was one of the cool kids. Now, Billy didn’t go to Bible College. I met him through some mutual friends. I need you to promise not laugh when I tell you how I met him. In college I enjoyed playing a particular video game, and there was a local group of people who played this video game as well. All of us used to get together on a weekly basis and practice getting better at the video game because we all traveled to video game tournaments. It’s ok if you laughed at that sentence. I loved it though. Traveling with these guys to various tournaments and hanging out at their houses was a blast. Billy was one of the guys that played fairly regularly with all of us.
One day Billy and I were talking and I said, “Hey, Billy, do you ever go to church?” His response to that question struck me instantly and I realized that his story is not unique to him. His story is the same as so many others. Billy said,” I used to go to church when I was younger. I lived in a neighborhood where a bus would come around and pick up all the kids to take them to church. One day I got on the bus and I was listening to some music. The driver asked me what I was listening to and I told him it was the new Metallica CD.” What happened next forever altered his view of church and God.
The driver looked at Billy and said, “That music is satanic and if you listen to it you are going to Hell.” Billy thought to himself, “If Metallica is going to send me to Hell then I don’t want anything to do with God or church,” and he never went back after that. This same scenario happens all the time. Whenever you think about your religious upbringing or a friend of yours thinks about their upbringing, they feel just like Billy did. You might have even left the church for years because this happened to you. Can I for a moment just give a few thoughts if you find yourself with a similar background to Billy?
You left legalism not Jesus.
Jesus came so that you could live life to the fullest. He didn’t come to stifle your life, creativity, and fun. The only time Jesus gives rules is for our best interest and for His glory. So if you walked away from the faith, you might very well have walked away from the wrong faith. You probably walked away from rules that didn’t exist, and now your mad at a God who never made those rules in the first place. I understand why you are mad, but you probably directed your anger in the wrong place.
Jesus’ rules give life.
When we enter into relationship with Christ we gain freedom, but freedom does not mean the absence of rules. We live in America, a free country, but our country has its rules as well. Freedom means living within the rules that are best for me and everyone around me. This is why Jesus’ big rules are love God and love your neighbor. Those are rules that make our lives and everybody else’s life better.
Come back to Jesus.
Jesus has rules, but his rules are always life-giving. So would you consider coming back to Jesus? I think you will find that if you can remove the perspective of your upbringing, and just see Jesus for who Jesus is, you will get a much different picture than the one you have in your head. You might even take your next step, which I wrote about here in a previous blog post called….
The faith you grew up with doesn’t have to be the faith you end up with, and that’s not a bad thing if the faith you grew up with wasn’t real faith in the first place. You have the chance to start over brand new, and that’s great news for you. Jesus’ arms are always open.
Let me help you take your next steps in the faith and never miss another blog post.
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