So, I am always curious and intrigued by the answers I hear from people when asked about their faith or what drives them. Typically when the answer of a person is a declarative membership to a specific denomination or organization, "I'm a Baptist...I'm a Presbyterian. I'm a Lutheran. I'm a Catholic. I'm a Mormon. I'm Unitarian. I'm non-denominational. I'm Charismatic. I'm New Age. I'm a follower of The Secret. I'm Christian Reformed. Dutch Reformed. Reformed Reformed. I'm Southern Baptist. I'm an Atheist. I'm Agnostic. I'm Muslim. I'm Jewish. I'm philanthropic. I'm Conservative Southern Baptist. I'm Evangelical Free. I'm Anglican. I'm Roman Catholic. I'm Orthodox. I'm Mennonite. I'm Republican. I'm Democrat. I'm Methodist..." I hesitate and wonder. I know the person desires to be associated with something bigger than themselves...kind of the point of religion and politics, ya know, but the fact that the first thing out of their mouths is the brand and type of their church or un-church, well, to me, it's always a red flag.
Now, before you go postal on me, I'm not judging you for belonging to a specific denomination. A long time ago I used to say emphatically that I was Catholic. After that, I made sure everyone who met me knew I was a Born-Again, Charismatic Christian. If you asked me today, I'd tell you that I love God with my whole heart and am so grateful He sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for me. I will only live for Him and I will die for Him only. I do not pledge my life or loyalties to the Pope, Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Hagin, Beth Moore, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Oprah, or any other big name 'evangelist' type, no matter their 'faith' or religion.
The only man that walked the earth that I would live and die for is Jesus Christ, who was 100% man and 100% God. The reason I am writing all this today is I feel strongly to encourage anyone reading to figure out Who or who you believe in and follow accordingly. The reason a denominational or organizational answer is a red flag to me is that some people associate more with their name brand church or community than they do with Christ, or whoever it is they believe in. Speaking specifically to people who associate themselves with the name "Christianity", the reality is, some people don't know jack squat about Jesus. They read more novels and watch more Oprah or 'JesusTV' than anything every written by the Creator of the Universe, ie the Bible and have no clue that this Jesus, the One way to God, made it possible to be free from the curse and live for eternity in Heaven, but they have no clue what Heaven is. "It's a nice idea and nice people go there, but bad guys don't..." Really? How do you know that? Did someone tell you or did you actually read it yourself? As a stay at home mom, some women find more comfort from reading whatever is on Oprah's Book Club or on her 'Favorite Things' episode than dusting off the family Bible and finding the true keys to abundant life. I don't hate Oprah, but she didn't die on a cross for me or for anyone else (just thought I'd throw that out there...)
Jesus didn't come to earth to say nice fluffy stuff that made people feel good and tingly. He didn't blow sunshine at people and say, "I'm the son of god." He said in response to this: "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God," "Yes, it is as you say." Jesus didn't ever claim to be one way to God. He claimed to be the only way to God. He also never left God open for interpretation, meaning, whoever you think God is or who He is to you. This isn't like which pair of jeans fits you best or if you like your spinach fresh or sauteed.
This message does not have to be offensive...we either follow Jesus Christ or we don't. We know Jesus said He is coming soon. When that day arrives and we are asked about our faith, not our good intentions, our denomination or organizational membership, but our faith, what will our answer be?