I hear talk in the church of why so many are leaving and yet they still believe in God. In the time of Jesus and right after, followers flocked to the faith, because it was truth and it set them free.
Today, Christianity is based a lot on religion and less on the actual words and actions of Christ. The only people who fail to see that are those inside the institution. Ask the rest of the world and people inside the faith appear no different than those outside and in some cases those outside do more to take care of the concerns of Christ than the modern church.
I was reading the words of Jesus this morning and something struck me, hard.
Jesus instructs his followers to go spread the good news. He brought freedom from the additions religious leaders were making to the Torah (word of God). And religious leaders continue to add to the “rules” and fail to follow the guidelines established by God Himself. Is not the same thing happening in the church today?
In Jesus’ instructions to His followers He tells them to take nothing with them on their journey (of spreading the good news) but a staff. (He didn’t mean the kind of staff churches take today which can include all kinds of associate pastors and such). He was talking about a rod. He said: “no bread, no luggage, no copper in your money belts.
Perhaps Jesus wanted His truth to be pure, not purchased and based on a faith easily seen by those in the audience because they were to have no 401k plans or a backup. This is just you and God and you trusting for his provision.
How attractive would something like that be to the broken hearted, the down and out, the homeless and you and me?
When God calls people to set them apart he means not to judge what others do as right or wrong but to follow His guidelines and be different. Now, different isn’t the goal. The goal is to simply do what God says, period.
HOW DOES THIS WORK?
In the time of King Herod, he understood and feared those set-apart to and by God. He hated John the Baptist but knowing he was a righteous man, a set-apart-man, he protected him until tricked into beheading the prophet. He was afraid of a guy who ate grasshoppers and dressed in really bad fur.
I wonder what would happen to people today if those who choose to follow Christ, really did follow his actions and His words, not the doctrine of a church looking for behavior modification but instead a group of people being transformed by truth by simply following the instructions of a God they say they love.