How to Follow Christ, not Religion

Bible lying open on a table

Why you should learn how to follow Christ, not religion in your own life…

As Christians, we must maintain awareness of this separation. We must constantly take stock of our relationship with Christ. Are we following Christ or are we following religion?

What’s the difference you might ask? Isn’t Christianity ultimately a religion. And, the answer is, yes; yes, it is. Though, Christianity is a religion, it is so much more than that. Christianity is a way of life. And for it to be truly what God intended it to be, it must be a relationship.

Why Should We Follow Christ and not Religion?

Religion identifies sets of rules and norms for Christians to follow. And since religion is influenced by man’s decision, it is therefore, fallible to man’s motives. All through scripture, we see how others tried to interpret God’s laws and commands to suit their needs.

Christ spoke harshly of the Pharisees and religious leaders who were supposed to uphold the law of Moses. The laws were meant to be used to help God’s people. Instead, the law was used to burden God’s people and falsely uplift the religious leaders. Thereby, allowing the law to be subjected to man’s motives and missing the heart and Spirit of God for His people.

Jesus demonstrated that while the religious leaders were publicly demonstrating their faithfulness to the laws of Moses, their hearts had never been close to, much less transformed by, God. All their practices were fully external. Their religion had not transformed their hearts nor their lives.

Christianity as a Religion Has a Dark Side

As a Black woman, I am hard-pressed not to address how Christianity was used to enslave my race and used as a justification for slavery for centuries. Christianity was cited as the white’s man’s responsibility and burden to civilize African cultures they deemed as inferior to them, all while draining their resources, devastating their cultures, and stealing their heritages.

Even today, the practice of Christianity looks different across races. Each culture has their variation on aspects of the religion as it has been practiced and passed down through generations. Christianity has been deeply entwined with politics, culture, philosophy, and socialization, and continues to be used as justification for power, control, and influence. As Christians, we cannot maintain blindness to how people utilize our faith and belief in God to subjugate others.

How to Follow Christ, not Religion

As a result, I suggest that you should take the time to learn how to follow Christ, not religion, because then, and only then, does Christianity becomes your way of living. Following Christ creates a relationship between you and Christ and opens the door for communication and for right standing with Him. In a healthy relationship, there is open communication from both sides. You can talk to God, and He can talk to you about how He wants to transform your heart.

Having a relationship with Christ will remove legalistic behaviors that are untouched by the Spirit of the Lord. Christ is unconditional with His love of all people. A healthy relationship with Christ recognizes that everyone on this planet has been born in sin – so yes, that includes you – and is inherently both good and bad. The difference that separates us is our choices and which side they feed. But, with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us, we have the power and the ability to become more like Christ.

Subscribing to religion gives you a list of do’s and don’ts with no heart and no understanding for the mistakes that we will all make. However, as King David demonstrated in Psalms51, we are all conceived in sin and require the saving grace of Christ to transcend our circumstances. So, let’s set our intentions to receive, and accept, Christ’s saving love, rather than accepting man-influenced religion.

There is no true transformation as a Christian without a fully submitted life to Christ. A fully submitted life only happens through our own individual relationship with Christ.

Photocred: John-Mark Smith/Pexels

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