Religious NUT !? 2018-08

Religious NUT   !?    2018-08 

I recently met a friend, that saw me and said, without any hesitation, “Are you a religious nut now?” This was out of the blue after I had just met him again, after a longish period of time. I was totally surprised, at that moment of time, by his question.

I looked at him and blurted out, “cashew or almond?” My reply was an off the cuff retort and somewhat of a smart-ass answer to him.

He was not expecting this and just stood there and blinked a couple of times.  I regrouped and asked, “WHY do you ask?” This wasn’t going well for him I guess, and he was noticeably embarrassed, perhaps for asking and doing so as an introductory hello statement.

I left him off the hook and offered “Is this because of the cross that I wear?” being the only thing that came to mind right away. I started wearing a cross, that I made, after an incident, which changed my life forever; another story later, perhaps…..

He looked down at it, at my chest, and said, “Eh, no! It is actually because of your posts online that you make and that I follow. You seem to post a lot of religious things now!”

I paused and thought a moment, and then said, “Yes, I have begun or continue to post my thoughts on what I believe!”

He asked if I was trying to preach to people, including himself. I told him no, and that I am just telling my story on how I feel towards God and Jesus Christ. I continued and stated, “I believe in what I believe and feel that I, as a fledging disciple of Christ, want to let others know how I feel, in relation to where I am in my journey.”

He asked, “What journey?”  I looked at him and could see he was serious and I said, “My journey in getting closer to God!”  His comeback was, “Oh!   OK!”

I guess that satisfied him and we went on with what I would call normal conversation. Later I thought about what we first discussed.

He was more used to my OLD self and not the NEW me.  I get that! I appreciate his honesty in asking me though.  We were friendly in the past and I did or do not want to jeopardize our relationship. I let him know that I am still the person I was before, but have a different look at life now.

It is unknown, how many people think his way and it does not matter. If any have problems with what I post, move on, and don’t read them; easy as that. I do hope that you read them, and in the reading, get something out of them.  I am always open to questions of any sorts about my new life now.

As I have expressed before, I will still love you, respect you and Yes, still like you too.

Thanks be to God,

Peace,
Den Betts                            bettsden@gmail.com

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Relationship versus Religion 2016-44

Relationship versus Religion   2016-44

I feel I try to get “closer to Jesus Christ” in my relationship with Him. It is not easy for me and I am continually striving to do so. I wander and find myself straying away at times, even though I do not want to do so. Hey, “I am human” is my excuse, but a bad one.

What is Being Religious?

Anyhow, I have some points of view to think about. Someone told or actually asked me, “You are religious?” I thought and admitted to him that was so, probably. I stopped to think about the question. What is being religious? Is it being Lutheran, following doctrines of the church, going to church, doing the right things, being moral in my actions and thoughts, or WHAT?  Does God want me or us to be religious or does He want us to have a relationship with Him. Which is more important?

I refuse to say I should be less religious or not at all. I feel I am also Spiritual and perhaps that does shove me more towards having a better relationship with God; maybe….

Is it Enough?

Doing or being more religious does have problems for me at times.

Do I feel that when I am doing all the religious things I am on God’s “good side” and am saved because I am doing what I did or do for Him. Hmmm…. Then, if I do not pray enough, do enough service, attend church all the time; do I start to feel guilty? I would think then with this rationale, I can NEVER pray enough, read the Bible enough, and do enough for the church to earn God’s love.  Then I thought, God doesn’t love me for what I do, God loves me for what my Savior did for me… He loves me because of my relationship with Him not my obligations I feel I must do for Him. Another Hmmm… I read Romans 8:1 and that Scripture sort of sums it up for me.

Do I, or do others , censure others for not being or acting perfect? THEN, do we start to make comparisons with these same others? Does it become sessions of comparing our spiritual life to others and when we start to condemn ourselves do we then start to condemn others?  I think we should NOT compare ourselves to others but instead compare ourselves to Jesus Christ and in reality there is NO comparison in that comparison. All we have to do is accept His grace and allow Him to bridge the gap where we do not measure up.  In Romans 2:1 it states, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things”, which somewhat explains what I just said.

Does God Owe Us?

Being quite religious can make us feel like God “owes us”, which is not true. If we do all those religious things I mentioned beforehand, why would God allow all or anything bad to happen to us? This is where we feel that we can achieve righteousness, which is something we cannot do. In Romans 3:10-12 “ as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;   no one understands; no one seeks for God.   All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Anyhow, I believe that He has given us all that he has when he died on the cross for our sins, and owes us nothing more..

I do not want my ego to allow any of my religious ongoing dealings to make me prideful of myself and take my thoughts away from Jesus and my relationship with Him. As it states in one of my favorite books of the Bible, James 5:16, Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” This idea may be what I want to do. Also, do I, or we, allow ourselves to think our being good is from US, instead of God’s grace alone, and if we do, we may become subjugated by this.

No Strings Attached!

Lastly, I think we should NOT be thinking about how much we pray, go to church, read the Bible, but instead, ponder and focus more on the who, instead of the how of being religious. By getting closer to Jesus Christ, this is more that really matters, the WHO of the One we worship, because God wants us to come just as we are, no more. He invites us to an abundant life, defined by relationship instead of just a religious setting. Religion doesn’t save, Jesus does. I do NOT feel that there is not a place in our lives for religion; just not allow it to rule us. Community is a part of showing our love for God and not to be excluded, but let it be part of the relationship.

Den Betts

 

 

I acknowledge Tyler Speegle for his comments that I used for info in the above. I made it more personable to me and not him for these views on religion and relationships.