And Then This...


As I journey through the beginning of this new year, I am being stripped and shaken and called out of my safe corners on every possible side.

Echoing deep in the center of my being is a question.


Am I practicing Christianity or Churchanity? 



God has me reading The Sermon on The Mount, over and over and over. I have decided to commit it to memory.  This is the thing, I am not recognizing very much of the faith that I practice and live in the words of Jesus. Ouch. What is this thing called Christianity? 

I can tell you one thing that it isn't, it isn't all about me, and God making me into a holy person. 
Where did I get that idea? Not from Jesus.

I keep hearing


'Now, go and do likewise.' 

Do what? 

'Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me...............'

So what does this mean?

Deny yourself, turn from your selfish ways:


Putting 'me' first.
Dwelling on 'me' and how 'I feel.'
Taking offense.
Doing things for my gain.

Take up your cross:


Where my will crosses God's will, this is my cross. 

Daily I have opportunities to choose His way rather than what feels natural and easy and what benefits me, like true forgiveness and reconciliation for instance. I have had this one person tugging on my heart for months now. Mentally I had forgiven her, but it is only this week that I took up my cross in the situation and truly forgave her from the depths of my heart. Easy? No, definitely not. But Jesus says, "For the joy that was set before Me, I endured the cross."

That. 

I am beginning to get. 

The freedom and joy that comes when we for real let go. There is no other religion or faith out there with this power. It is holy and awesome. Grace rains down over me as I fall down to my knees.

And then this,


Follow Me:


Wow. Have you read the Sermon on The Mount lately? There is so much in there, and ummmm.... church? Going to church? Well, so far in my reading, Jesus hasn't said ummmm.... (clear my throat here) He hasn't mentioned it. Please don't take this to mean that I do not think going to church is VERY important, I know it is. It is just that, well, it isn't all there is to this thing called Christianity. 

All that I have made of this thing called Christianity.

The power of the Word of God to change us is amazing! I am beginning to think that part at the end of the sermon, where Jesus says, 'depart from Me, I never knew you,' (Mt. 7:21-23) is directly related to all that Jesus is teaching while He is sitting on that mountainside. And this little word 'do' is growing in me and changing me. 


I. Am. Changing.



 ~Renee


P.S. Linking today with Carissa , Sara and Brooke.

Comments

JohnDent said…
I love the raw honesty of your writing. Thank you for sharing this.
Anonymous said…
American Christianity has confused doctrine with piety and words with deeds. What is the Christian community supposed to be known for? Among other things, loving one another, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, preaching the gospel to the poor, freeing the captives, taking care of widows and orphans. America is looking more and more like Babylon.
Renee Pierce said…
Thank you John. That means a lot to me. Engaging in real, honest, raw conversation within the body of Christ is challenging.
Renee Pierce said…
That is part of this Churchanity vs. Christianity thing I have meditating on. Church can be very shallow and superficial, even among believers. I am not saying here that those caught up in Churchanity are not necessarily believers, but there is sooo much more to it! Church is good and I believe biblically it is necessary, but I am realizing that it is not the end. Jesus really lays it out for us with His life and His words, and I keep asking myself, why have I never seen this? Truth is, I have, and because of the lukewarm culture of American Christianity, somehow I have been able to justify my disobedience. For me, it is long past time that I start reading the Bible and thinking for myself, rather than allowing other people's practice of Christianity to define my own journey. I am not judging anyone specifically, except myself. My intent is not judgement or condemnation, I am just sharing where I am on the Way.
Michele-Lyn said…
Oh, I believe the Lord is leading His body this way. Perhaps as we approach Lent, even more and more. This life we are called to live for God is a life surrendered.

Visiting from Ann's. Blessings to you...
Lisa B said…
What you wrote is beautiful Renee! Thank you for sharing your heart. The Lord has been dealing with me on these issues as well and is showing me that the only way I can even come close, is to truly understand and let it become part of me... that He loves me and has only goodness planned for me. That revelation is the power of God. Then, as I learn who He is and what His view and opinion is of me because of what Jesus paid for, that gets the selfish me out of the way and allows Him to flow through me to others. It's all totally His strength and not my own. My battle has been wanting to "do" it for Him instead of resting in Him and letting Him do it through me. Then, my "do" will be motivated from the right place and I won't be a clanging cymbal or noisy gong. What a struggle to renew my mind...How blessed I am that He has placed awesome friends around me to help in this wonderful journey! You are a blessing!!
Renee Pierce said…
You are a blessing to me too Lisa! I love you sister.

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