Religious, Spiritual, or a Follower of Christ?

I had a person say to me, “I’m spiritual, but not religious”. I think they thought I’d argue with them about that statement, but I agreed with them, “Yep, me too.” They looked at me so funny. They meant, “I don’t attend church, am frustrated with church, etc”. I meant, “Jesus hated structured religion that was empty of spiritual power, and so do I.”

It’s not about being religious or spiritual; it’s about actually following Christ. Being deeply religious or deeply spiritual without the life transforming work of the Holy Spirit in your life will give you the same results. Hell will be full of deeply religious and deeply spiritual people. Satan himself is spiritual and believes in God. He has just made a decision to not surrender to God. Many religious or spiritual people are in the exact same boat today; they believe, but are not willing to surrender.

Surrender is the single biggest issue we face as followers of Christ. If we can get the surrender issue resolved, everything else falls into place. Jesus revealed the primary way we prove our love in John 14 when He “If you love me, you will obey me”. But I would say that our biggest issue with consistent obedience is surrender.

So, obedience is the primary way we prove our love for Jesus to Jesus. If Jesus was with you right now (and He is in the person of the Holy Spirit) and He asked you, “Do you love me?” Now, before we are too quick to say a resounding “YES!” let me ask you another question. Is there something He is asking you to do or to not do that you have not surrendered to yet?

If God is asking you to respond to Him in some area of obedience, your dialogue with Him would be much like that Peter had with Him in John 21 when He said, “Peter, do you truly love me?” After Peter said “Yes, you know I do Lord”. Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep.” In other words, do what I am asking you to do…prove your love for me through your willingness to obey me.

If Jesus asked me, “Tim, do you love me?” Of course I would say “Yes!”, but I must also be prepared for Him to say, “Then obey me in this specific area of your life”. That is the moment when we really find out whether I truly love Jesus or not. Any answer other than, “Absolutely” only proves that I love myself more than I love Christ.

I am convinced that many folks who claim to love Christ may truly want to love Him, but when it comes down to proving their love through their obedience they fail to make a compelling case. What about you? Does your level of surrender and obedience give evidence of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in your life or not?

I have Bad News for the Alt-Right Crowd

I have bad news for alt-right racists.

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar. For whoever does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” — 1 John 4:20.

And if they do make it to heaven based on God's grace (we ALL need that, none of us are worthy), then based on scripture's description below, they will absolutely HATE it. Haahhahaa

“After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb! ” Revelation 7:9-10

God is not a racist. Torch-wielding white nationalists and white supremacists marching through Charlottesville, Virginia, Friday night and rallying again Saturday are clearly in conflict with scripture, as well as the nature & character of God.

As followers of Christ our number one responsibility is to be an ever increasing better reflection of Jesus.

Don't get sucked into stupid controversies and arguments, but don't be afraid to reflect Jesus either. The darkness around you simply cannot put out the light within you that shines through you. Be light in the darkness!

Six Observations about Loving God

I would like to make six observations about loving God using the story of the “sinful” woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with very expensive perfume in Luke 7:36-50.

  1. Being deeply in love with God is a choice (v.37-38). This “sinful” woman made an extravagant choice to pour perfume costing perhaps one year’s wages on Jesus’ feet. When was the last time we made a choice to follow-through with an extravagant act of obedience and sacrifice as a demonstration of our love for Christ?
  2. Loving God can be costly (v.37-38). To God, it isn’t about the “cost” it is about the heart. God does not need our “stuff”; He wants us. All that we are; our personhood, our hopes, our dreams, our victories, and our defeats. God’s bottom line is that He wants “no other God’s before Him”.
  3. There will always be a Pharisee around to judge (v.39). The religious leaders of the day were always at odds with Jesus. Religious folks today still and always will find themselves at odds with Jesus; especially when it comes to the application of biblical Christ-following and change. Remember, it is about a personal relationship with God through Jesus enabled by the work of the Holy Spirit, which is proven and demonstrated through consistent, willful obedience, not a religious belief system or checklist. In the story the Pharisee was too caught up in his judgmental attitude to recognize the bigger picture of God’s grace, mercy, and power to change a person’s life.
  4. Your level of gratitude determines your level of love (v.40-48). The “sinful” woman’s weeping as she publicly used her hair to humbly wipe and then kiss Jesus’ feet reveals her brokenness over her sin and her gratitude for Jesus’ willingness to forgive and restore her. What a perfect picture of repentance and gratitude!
  5. Focus enables love (v.38). What we focus on is what captures our attention. Outside of a church service, how much time to we spend focused on God? Focus on Him. Let Him capture your attention, then He will capture your heart. Then you will never be the same!
  6. Loving God will change your life (v.47-48, 50). “Loving” implies action. Our love is proven through our obedience. God hears what you say; but also knows what you do, your choices, your thoughts, your motives, etc, and “God will not be mocked” (Gal. 6:7).