Recently, an Atheist blog called “Rational Doubt” came across my FlipBoard newsfeed and I was intrigued by the headline so I decided to read the story. By the end of the article, I was just pissed off! I will always link to articles I reference, so feel free to read it yourself here, but I didn’t turn out well for me.
Why? Because this particular story (the blog has many) is one I’ve heard a hundred times and for some reason I am continually shocked and amazed at how many people blame the “church” or their “religious system” for their lack of faith or belief in Jesus Christ! It drive me nuts!
LISTEN: Someone struggling with belief in the “church” or the “system of religion” they have and making it synonymous with their belief or trust in God is a connection that was NEVER supported by Jesus Christ.
After 30 years of loyalty and service to his RELIGION, this clergyman was tired, sick, and could no longer continue on his current path. So he gave up his faith in God – because he could not reconcile the religious system he was stuck in.
Notice, the article is pretty clear to articulate that he had massive issues with the religious system and the stuff he was preaching. Yet because the religious system and faith in God were tied together… He felt he had to turn from God in order to be set free.
Sir… I’d like to re-introduce you to Jesus! He knew you’d feel this was – but you’ve made the wrong choice if FREEDOM and REST is what you are looking for!
In Matthew’s Gospel – Jesus says
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)
Jesus could weave a good story, parable, riddle, and maybe even a limerick or two that needed some follow up explanation. But there are many times in which He was incredibly clear!
Jesus told the Jewish people who felt the very same way this clergyman did, to COME TO ME! I will give you REST. Eugene Peterson is a pastor who wrote the paraphrase of the Bible called “The Message” used these words to help us even better see the context of this verse. He said this…
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Eugene Peterson, the Message – Matthew 11:28-30)
After I got past my anger over reading this article – I really began to feel bad for this man. He missed this basic understanding of what Jesus came to do FOR HIM. He allowed the enemy of his soul to deceive him to believe that freedom is found outside of Jesus.
He’ll feel some temporary relief, no doubt. The burden of religious rules and practices outside of the rest Jesus promised is too much for anyone to sustain. But He won’t find REAL rest. His unbelief will leave him empty and more lonely than he could have imagined before – a place where the only thing waiting for you… is you.
LISTEN: Don’t EVER let someone convince you that your religious system or rules, expectations, and religious practices are tied to Jesus. If your faith in Jesus doesn’t help you experience FREEDOM and REST, then you’re doing it wrong!