Thursday, September 23, 2010


“Oh…you’re religious.”

GRRRR…how I hate those words. They grate on my soul like fingers on a chalkboard.

When someone says them to me, I feel like I’ve been patted on the head and shoved out the door. Or worse yet, patted on the head and dismissed, ignored…

Flicked away like a piece of lint.

I find the words belittling and condescending.

I want to scream, “NO! I am not ‘religious!’ I am a follower of a PERSON Jesus Christ! I have a RELATIONSHIP with God Himself! Don’t you get it?!”

The truth of the matter is this – they DON’T get it.

And then, instead of feeling angry, I feel sad.

People who say this to me are so mistaken, so confused, so lost…

Our pastor is beginning a series entitled: “Why Jesus Hates Religionmoving beyond empty ritual…to authentic relationship.”

One of the definitions of the word “religion” in the dictionary is this:

A personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.


Sounds “OK” –

Religion is man’s attempt to understand the infinite – to know the unknowable.

But there ARE problems with that…

Let’s talk about three of them:

1) Religion says: Find YOUR way to God
Jesus says: I am God WITH you

Religion is not Good News – it makes us read the Bible the wrong way. The Bible is not a book about me – telling me how to live. The primary purpose of the Bible is to tell us God’s story! The Bible is not a book telling me what I should do – it is a book that tells what God has DONE.

2) Religion says: Work to make yourself righteous
Jesus says: I give forgiveness and healing

Religious people don’t need Jesus. They have their own rules, their own works to make them seem righteous. But the Bible is very clear that NO ONE is good enough to be righteous on their own.

Romans 3:23 – “For everyone has sinned; we ALL FALL SHORT of God’s glorious standard.”

But this thought continues in verses 24 and 25: “YET GOD, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin.

Jesus said He could do what we could not – forgive sins!

Now, THAT’S Good News!

3) Religion says: We provide the way to God
Jesus says: Religion is no way to God – I AM THE WAY

Religion promises things it can’t deliver – because love is a gift…it can never be earned.

Religion often appeals to us because we want to be in control of our relationship with God. We do “such and such,” and then we expect God to do “this and that.”

But, God is the Author of our salvation, the One who reached out to us – and Jesus is the “language” He chose to speak to a lost and fallen world.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE can come to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Restricting? Exclusive?


It is the most expansive statement in the history of the world. Jesus wants us to live in the FREEDOM of love.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that EVERYONE who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Does Jesus “hate” religion? Yes…

But oh…how He LOVES us! He gave His all, He gave His life for us…

“Oh…you’re religious.”

“No, I love a PERSON – Jesus Christ – who is the ONLY way to God. He FORGAVE my sins – something I could NEVER do. He provided the way for me to have a RELATIONSHIP with God…forever.”

Would you like to meet Him?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Hi Sharon,

    Thanks on sharing this post that encourages each of us to have a meaningful relationship with Christ; something religion will never fulfill.

    Blessings and peace.


  2. I literally did the AMEN AMEN all the way through this one! I'm teaching on the Sermon on the Mount right now. If there was any underlining thread in it, it is exactly what you describe. Jesus wanted and wants those who are His to have something far, far greater than a religion.

    I love your contrasts. They were excellent. I love the part about the primary purpose of the Bible being to tell God's story and what HE has done.

    Who, in their right mind, would trade what God has offered for religion?

    And also, I just have to say here that you made the entire family LAUGH OUT LOUD with your recent comments about grandchildren and the sawzall at Walmart. Denise's nose was wiggling as she was talking about it. It only does that when she is in the flat out belly laugh mode. Funny woman, you!!!!

  3. I know what you mean, Sharon. They don't get it, you are absolutely right. It is all about relationship with Jesus and it is soooo freeing to have one with him. Religion is rules and rituals and obligations. Following Jesus is seeking him,loving him, worshiping him, honoring him, thanking him for dying for us, and so much more.

    sounds like a great series at church; email me sometime ( Would love to know where you go to church over in Orange County.


  4. Greetings -

    Religion is dry...

    Life with Christ is moist and abundant...

    John 7:38 (KJV)
    He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

    Luke 12:35 (KJV)
    Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;

    Praise our Lord that dry bones can live as is stated in Ezekiel 37.

    Father, please infuse us so that we will overflow with the fruits of Your Spirit. Inject us with Holy Ghost juices that will energize, empower, and destroy yokes because of Your anointing. Let us glisten with spirit-filled oil from the places of your splendor. Give us courage, confidence and faith please Lord, to declare Your words with certainty of that which we speak. Equip us to dissolve doubts because we live and breathe You. Thank you, Lord - Amen.

    Isaiah 10:27 (KJV)
    ...and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.

  5. MTJ - You know, I think that is my overriding priority in life right now - I want to have a meaning-full relationship with Jesus. I just want JESUS!

    Debbie - It's interesting to me that you're doing the Sermon on the Mount. I love how Jesus' message was totally opposite of what people expected to hear. His Kingdom was opposite - His mission was opposite. He was nothing like anyone had expected - and yet, He was EVERYTHING we truly needed. He turned our world completely upside down. That's why I LOVE that He isn't about religion. There's no way that religion could define Him - because religion cannot CONFINE him!
    (BTW - glad to make the kinfolk chuckle... :)

    Betty - Yes, a relationship with Jesus is the ultimate FREEDOM! Jesus breaks all shackles - even the ones we impose upon ourselves (like religion). Thanks for your email - I'm going to send you an email this weekend, so we can talk more. FYI - I attend Mariner's Church in Irvine. When I email you, I'll fill in some of the details of how I ended up there, OK?! :)

    Sandra - Welcome! Loved your comment. Your words could have been a well-written blog entry! Thank you for sharing. I love how you used the image of dry bones coming to life. Yes!! Jesus took those old "dry bones" of religion and breathed LIFE into them!! "I am the Way, the Truth, and the LIFE..."


  6. If it wasn't so late I could write a book about your post...and I'm much better with pictures than words, so I'll keep it short. (-:
    Amen to this post and God's love for us. What a blessing to read this tonight!

  7. Anita - Glad you enjoyed this. I'm just about to leave for church this morning, can't wait to hear the next message in this series~
    I'll be over to visit you soon!



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)