What I cannot figure out is how people cannot be Christ-followers.
The wind just blew in so strong through my windows that the tissues for my runny nose went flying.
Well, biblically, I understand. It could be any number of things but you could probably break it down to a base level of hardness of heart and demonic veils.
But once those things are gone, seriously, there is no option.
As a Christ-follower, I am brought again and again to Jesus. The cross does not get old. It is the place of perpetual encounter. With someone real. My heart may grow distant for a time or develop a subtle, thin layer of frost undetected, but Jesus woos me back and dethaws me with his Love. His Cross. It is disarming. It is true. It is healing. It is LIFE. It is Really Good News.
I have been thinking lately that "religion" (here used negatively) is... .... just...always ready to step in. I could say (and I have said), "that person is religious" (again, in the negative sense) meaning that they are caught up in the systems of faith, have forgotten why they do the things they do, and have lived with a disengaged heart for a long time. And that kind of person is difficult to be around.
To be a Christ-follower is to have your heart involved with the Lord. It is to love Him. It is to obey him out of love for Him. It is to live for Him because you love Him. Because His way is good and right and true and way better than my way. When the things that make up relationship with Jesus, talking with him (prayer) adoring him (worship), hungering after him (fasting), learning about him (Bible study) actions of love for him (service) are done out of disengaged heart, you have nicely stepped out of relationship and into a religious system.
And I find that can happen very easily. So easily, in fact, that you might be in relationship with Jesus in the morning, stuck in religion in the afternoon, and then back in relationship in the evening.
You go to church and your mind is distracted during worship. And you're just... singing. But your heart is not engaged. And that then is not worship.
Fill in your own example.
Today...all day...my heart lives engaged. to my Beloved! Because he has washed me again and I am clean again and He still loves me. And I sit and "stay amazed" at the cross again.
Here in my mind I love the Lord with my thoughts directed at Him and thinking on His goodness.
Here is a song for anyone reading this that does not know Jesus or for those who do know Jesus but find that religion has crept in and their heart has become disengaged.
In order to listen to it, it is required that you have 20 minutes of uninterrupted time and preferably are stationary so that you can have your eyes closed. I present: "The Harlot" by Misty Edwards.