September 1, 2019
RELATIONSHIP, NOT RELIGION
So much of life is made up of choices. People of the kingdom of God have made a choice to follow Jesus that goes beyond religion!
Jesus did not come to found a new religion! Jesus came to form relationships with you and me.
Religion tells us we must go to church as though it were a ‘minimum requirement’ duty to perform. Show up and we will count you as present in the ‘Book of Life’ attendance database.
Religious people may think that they are giving something to God by showing up on a relatively regular basis. It is as though God needed them and their support to satisfy something He desires.
WHO IS GOING TO BE KING?
There are those who reject Jesus and walk away, actively avoiding Him. Like King Herod, they may wonder who Jesus is but they do not want to give up their kingdom to follow Him. So, they reject Him and His ‘religion’.
Others have evaluated Jesus by their perception of people who call themselves Christians and do religious things but have not yet sold out to follow Jesus. Like the crowds, they ‘hang out’ with Jesus but never really commit their hearts to follow Him. Looking for another free meal, a new magic trick or a new catchphrase for the day, they are fickle. As long as they are getting what they want, they show up. Disappoint them and…well…they have other things to do.
Then there are those who make the commitment to Jesus and spend their lives getting ready to meet Him. Like the disciples, they struggle because it is a narrow door filled with challenges, risks and hazards. But, they know where the party is and they are always ready to go!
Like others, they, too, make mistakes and errors in judgement. They know that following Jesus is hard and that they are broken. They also know that following Jesus is more than just ‘being religious.’ It’s a commitment to grow in knowing Jesus, becoming more like Him and following Him even when it does not make sense.
THE NARROW DOOR
Jesus’ illustration of ‘striving to enter through the narrow door’ is not about some type of works righteousness where our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds. Because of what God did for us through Jesus Christ, we strive to do good deeds because He has declared us to be righteous! We strive to live up to that to which we have been called. So, we strive to be ready for service when He opens the door.