“If I Were a Christian Now” – A Cry From The Old Testament Believers

Please listen to this video before reading….(men the clip will apply to you too so hang in there)…

 

At first I thought there was something just naturally beautiful about this clip. Initially I liked it because the ladies in it, all different ages, have grey hair. I love that they’ve accepted their grey hair because although I am only 48, I am learning to accept mine. So I thought wow, that’s cool, maybe there’ll be a revolution among Western women to let their hair be its natural colour, now that’d be something!

I noticed more women were ‘liking’ the video which I ended up sharing on my Facebook timeline so I watched it a few more times. It seemed to really resonate with the cry of so many women’s hearts in this Western society. It seemed to reach right into the core of our beings as women including mine.

Now, I’ve never considered myself to be any kind of ‘women’s lib’ advocate. To be honest, and please don’t be offended, it’s just never concerned me that much. Call me naïve, ignorant, lazy, call me whatever, it’s just not an issue I’ve bothered with. So I was kind of surprised at this deep reaction inside of me to the cry of the women in this video. Then it hit me.

It’s the cry for the church! I began to hear the words of these women and see the expression in their faces, as that of the Lord in and for His bride! I could hear the plea of the Lord’s heart for her to stop agonising over works and exhausting herself with self-effort as though she can be anything or do anything at all in her own strength. I began to hear how ludicrous it is for the church to let herself come under bondage again to the law. Try hard, try harder, fail, give up, try again, try hard, try harder…Oh! It’s painful and sad just to think about it.

I began to hear the soft gentle whisper of our Lord, saying “Come unto Me! All you who are weary, and heavy laden…I will give you rest for your souls…my burden is light! My yoke is easy!” I began to hear the word of the Lord to His very own body, to His very own bride, to His very own family.

I think these women can be representing the voice of the church, the bride of Christ, calling out to all her members, to say come out from ‘works’ and just ‘rest’ in Jesus. If we listen and watch this video through the eyes of what the Lord is saying to us, His church, I think we’ll be relieved to once again be reminded that “It is finished”.

I can hear the saints of the Old Testament crying out to us saying that now they understand the freedom of Christ, why are we living like they used to? They’re saying that if they were us living here in our time, they would embrace this incredible Christ and the freedom Christ died for and not return to being bound by the law with all it’s works – serving on the committee, having to prepare a sermon every week, be on the visiting team, run a new discipleship class, attend the conferences, run the youth group, play the drums in the ‘worship’ band, be early for every ‘service’, attend the prayer meetings, contribute to the building fund, join the street witnessing team, bring people to church, go to bible college, become a strong church leader…and so on. You know how it goes.

After beginning with the Spirit are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? asks Paul of the Galatian church (Galatians 3:3).

When Christ came and set us free from the law by fulfilling it for us, He took away the danger of us burning out from religion.

Some quotes from the video:

…Pressure to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect friend….to be successful, a boss, a leader…

…If I had my time again I wouldn’t create a To-Do’ list, I’d create a ‘To-Don’t Do-list…

…I’d give myself the time to indulge myself in the things I now understand are the most important…

Christian, the most important is Christ Himself. Let’s indulge in Him and Him alone. Let’s give up on the expectations of the world and the law of religion that do not belong to us.  Let’s stop concerning ourselves with ‘doing’ and just ‘be’. Let’s ‘be’ the church, the bride, the beloved of our Lord. Let’s indulge in Him and in doing so find our identity, our purpose, our joy and our rest.

41But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:41-42.

Now, listen to the video again, with your spirit.

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7 Indicators of Religious Bondage & 7 Ways Out

On my walk today I noticed with new eyes, all the barbed wire lying around the place, that has been cut down from the many fences that were used to separate all the land into paddocks. IMG_1507 Now the barbed wire has been pulled down and in some places you can see it rolled up and pinned to a pole here and there. In some cases, there are coils of it lying in the grass where it’s been left. In another place, along the path, there is about 2 feet of barbed wire standing up out of the dirt as if it has grown there. It isn’t even in the paddock or attached to a pole, it is literally under the pathway and sticking through ready to catch anything that brushes past it. It is quite out of place.  There are traces of it everywhere.IMG_1508

All this reminded me of religion. One might ask of another “What barbed wire are you wrapped in?” and they might reply “Oh, I’m Pentecostal” or “Good works and bible study”. Another might answer “Oh yes, I’m all caught up (entangled) in what other people think of me”, “I’m ensnared in keeping up appearances” or “I’m always trying to make sure that I’m living the right way and avoiding the wrong way”.

Religion is bondage. It is binding just like barbed wire. When one is caught on, in or by barbed wire, it is very difficult to escape and to do so really hurts. To be free of barbed wire once caught, generally means you’re in for a bit of agony, at the very least some torn clothes if not torn flesh to some degree. If you’ve ever experienced this you know what I’m talking about. Getting yourself free from religion is just like that.

But how do you know if you’re bound by religion?

  1. You’ll feel a separation between you and other Christian brothers & sisters
  2. You’ll be concerned with what others think of you on a spiritual level
  3. You’ll see yourself as different to other believers  (usually, more spiritual than them)
  4. You won’t have a genuine sense of freedom
  5. You’ll be bound to some expectation of performance
  6. You’ll be crushed with disappointment in yourself when you sin in front of others
  7. If you do recognise any of these religious ways in your own life, even hating them, you feel powerless to change

So on this land where I walk every day, I was reminded by seeing these traces of barbed wire, how the Lord Jesus has removed the separation, the division, the fences if you like, amongst His people, His body.

Paul says ;

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

14For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.…(Ephesians 2:14-16)

He has made us One New Man just as this land here is one lot of land, far and wide and no longer divided and separated by barbed wire.

The Lord wants us to be free of religion, remember it wasn’t the sinners but the religious leaders of His day that Jesus continually rebuked. However, it is a very real challenge to get ourselves free of it once we’ve been caught by it and to do so is often a very long and painstaking process.IMG_1512

Yet, our Lord Jesus is always cutting down the barbed wire of religion that has seized many a heart. One of the nastiest aspects of religion is that we never realise how deep it goes. It has been described by many who have gone through and are still going through this process, as a rabbit hole.

Jesus often frees us by connecting us with others who have been freed also, who can then help us.Only a free person can help free a person. So if you sense that you have been caught in the barbed wire of religion and you want to get free so you can roam and explore the entire land that is Jesus Christ Himself, I’d like to encourage you to ask the Lord to help you find others who have been freed. From their place of freedom in learning to live by His indwelling life and not by religious strongholds, just sharing life with them will support you greatly in your journey toward freedom. I know it has been paramount to my ‘losing my religion’ which is ongoing.

Ways in which being with Christ centered believers who are free from religion, can help;

  1. We learn Christ
  2. Christ is revealed in us
  3. We begin to know for the first time what freedom really is
  4. We learn for the first time what God’s greatest purpose is
  5. We begin to understand who the church is
  6. We begin to love the church and see Christ expressed in every member
  7. The gifts of Jesus to the church become apparent and free-flowing

Jesus said “I have come to give you life abundant.” Paul said “It is for freedom’s sake that Christ came to set us free”.

As T. Austin-Sparks writes, “How did Paul come out of his narrow Jewish conceptions about the Messiah? Simply by the revelation of Christ in him, and as that revelation grew his liberation increased…it was the revelation of Christ which was emancipating him, leading him out, freeing him all the time” (By T. Austin-Sparks from: All Things in Christ – Chapter 1).

Are you free today friend?