Jesus is not religious
Losing my mother in 2006 after a short battle she had with Ovarian cancer is a reminder to me of just how short life is, and how important it is that we are prepared to enter eternity. It’s also a reminder to me of the many people who have never grasped the difference between religion and knowing Jesus through a personal relationship.
For many years I prayed for Mom’s eyes to be opened to know Jesus personally. I’m glad to say that she did come to that place before she died. She left behind her religious upbringing which was very ingrained in her to become a true follower of Jesus. But what about the many who have never come to understand the difference between religion and actually knowing Jesus? Their eternal future hangs in the balance…
Are you on your way to heaven?
On my website I share many posts that deal with the differences between religion and having a relationship with Jesus. These posts are intended to make you think about eternity and where you will spend it. I realize that some people will be offended by what I write concerning “religion”.
The truth is, I’m offended by the fact that we have allowed so many to believe that religion can save them.
How can we sit back and not tell people the truth?
At one time I was also among those who had no clue that the only way to heaven is found through a person, not a religious system. We should be shouting it from the housetops, but we’re so afraid of what people think that we keep silent. What excuse can we possibly give for our silence when we stand before Him on that final day?
My story’s a simple one… When I was young I had somewhat of a religious upbringing. My best friend’s Dad even pastored a church, so for a time in my life I went to church with him. Sometimes I’d hear stuff on the radio about God, but it often seemed to me that they were just trying to make God look cool to teens. It was a turn off. I knew God was more than about being cool. Whatever exposure I had to religion and church wasn’t having much of an effect on me. I was seeking something real with God, but I wasn’t finding it. I never found what I was looking for in “church”, and eventually got back into psychic stuff which had I dabbled in. But that was all about to change- In the summer of 1984, when I was least expecting it, Jesus opened my eyes and totally changed my life!
All of my life I had thought of Jesus as being about religion. Suddenly I realized it wasn’t about that at all! It was actually possible to know Jesus personally. It wasn’t religion He came to bring; He brought Himself. He showed up Himself! Well, that was it. I became born again and began to follow Jesus.
My family didn’t really understand what had happened to me when I became born again. Suddenly I was toting around a bible and talking about Jesus all the time. I used to wear a t-shirt that was specially made for me that said, “Jesus is not religious!” I remember Mom saying to me, “What do you mean He’s not religious? Of course He’s religious!” I prayed and prayed she’d one day understand.
While religion might make us feel safe, or make us feel spiritual, it can never take us to heaven when we die. We need Jesus to do that. Christian singer Keith Green said it best:
“Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald’s makes you a hamburger!”
Unfortunately, far too many people believe that going to church DOES make them a Christian. They’re staking their eternity on it; hoping that going to church and trying to be a good person will be enough, and God will let them into heaven when they die.
When death comes
Ten years before Mom died, she came to see that religion wasn’t enough, and she gave her life to Jesus. Never again did I hear Mom say that she hoped to get to heaven by trying to be “good enough” or because she went to church.
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.”
It hurts to know that in this world I will never be seeing my Mom, or be spending time with her again. But for me there’s something that goes beyond that… the overwhelming joy I have knowing that my mother had given her life to Jesus, that she is now in heaven, and one day we will see each other again.
The bible tells us to consider the day of death because it’s the end of us all. (Ecclesiastes 7:2) We all have to face it, and we should think long and hard about it. I for one don’t want to be putting my trust in religion assuming I can get to heaven that way.
If you’re trusting in your “religion” to get you to heaven I urge you to let go of it and to take hold of Jesus instead. Heaven and hell are real places. Heaven is the home of those who have given their lives to Jesus and look to Him alone for eternal life.