Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Radical Christianity

I don't consider myself a religious person.  I know, that may sound weird coming from a missionary mama with a Faithful homeschooling website.  But seriously, I despise that term.  Religion is man-made and while I do believe in being part of a church... simply following a religion is flawed.

I am a Christian and I will correct people who call me religious.  I don't follow man, I follow Christ... I am Christian.

I make that distinction because it is Ash Wednesday.  I love Ash Wednesday but not for the religious aspect.  I love Ash Wednesday for the Jesus aspect.  When I am part of a church which has a service and places ashes on the forehead... I will gladly step forward and do so. 

Not for religion... but for God.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
- Luke 4:1

Jesus stepped forward into the wilderness for 40 days.  He prayed, he fasted, he was tempted, and most importantly, he prepared for his ministry.  A ministry that would alter the course of humanity and give hope to the world.

Yes, I love Ash Wednesday.  I love how at the end of 40 days a hope, HIS ministry culminated, is played out over Easter weekend.  Our lives are nothing without Easter weekend.

But back to Ash and religion vs. Christianity.

When I was a child I had a friend who took part in Ash Wednesday services and shared with our circle of friends what she was "giving up" for lent.  No chocolate, no red meat, no this, not that... all items of a material nature and, while they are commendable, I look back on those vows made by many (even myself at times) and realize how God is calling us to do so much more.

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
- Joel 2:12

We may not need to "weep" or "mourn" for our savior has come.  But we can deeply and truly seek Him "with all our heart".  Jesus didn't just lay aside a craving or indulgence... no, he set himself apart for 40 days from anything and everything so he might focus more on His Father and his mission ahead.  He offered up himself for purification and testing of that purification.

Shouldn't we attempt to do the same?  On KOG today I wrote about a fasting of our Spirit, a step away from the things of this World for the things of His Kingdom.  This is the fast I choose in a world of religious hum-drum; to take a stand reflecting a life of radical Christian living. 

Churches are great, but we should never get into a religious hum-drum, forgetting the heart of our faith and Who is living in us and through us and our responsibility to respond first to God and then to man.

I do respect everyone's own way of honoring our King and this time of year... However you enter this Lenten season, I pray your heart grows closer to Christ in all you do.

May, to you, many blessings pour out,


  1. I so agree....I can't stand being called religious. I choose Christ, I follow Him. Love the truth you spoke in this post.

  2. I so agree with you... This is excellent. I am indeed a Christian :)

  3. I so agree with you. This is excellent. Have a wonderful day.

  4. Erin, Kathleen and Denise, I humbly thank you for your comments and feel blessed to be in good Christian company :-)

  5. I agree, it's just that sometimes people need help, they need symbols, reminders. I am a Catholic and we're not required to go to mass on Ash Wed. and have ash put on our foreheads. I didn't. I had my own personal prayer time, and decided that instead of giving up something, I would go the positive route and look for ways to be kinder, to be encouraging, to help the poor, etc. It's good that if every day we can say, yes, we treated others as if they were Jesus!

    1. Hands, I think your choice sounds wonderful and truly in the heart of Jesus. You are so right that making choices of kindness and encouragement are just as symbolic of our devotion as a sacrificed desire. Thank you for sharing this! May God Bless you as you step through Lent!

  6. I don't like the term "religion" either. Sometimes I even feel that "Christian" has been watered down to the point that it doesn't mean what I mean by it, which is "Christ follower."

    Beautiful thoughts on Lent---on both sites. Lent is more than no chocolate or no TV. Those are great but are just outward signs of what should be an inner work. It truly is self-examination and sacrifices that cut deep to reveal the Spirit living His life through us. Thank you.

    1. Jennifer, thank you for your beautiful words... you summed it well. You are so right about being watered down. What hurts my heart just as much is "Christians" who use that title expecting clout or concessions. Which is completely contrary to Christ's character. Oh that His Kingdom would come into the hearts of many this Lenten season!