What is Christianity? Many believe that it is a religion that was started by Christ while on earth but I beg to differ. Neither Jesus nor the disciples went about calling themselves such. The term was first spoken in Antioch as a description of those who were followers of Christ. Today those of us who believe on the Lord are identified by this word, Christianity, but in the midst of this it would seem that some of us have lost sight of what we are about. We spend our time arguing over doctrines and over who said what and how they are doing things over there but the intents of the heart are at times questionable. If we are to follow the things of Christ then we should make an effort to do so fully. We use our faith as an excuse when it is suitable for us and bend the word of the Lord to fit our particular needs for a time but in all of this we are missing what is of greater importance; the relationship between us and the Lord.
I used to approach my faith of Christianity as a religion. I "religiously" attended church and "religiously" served within the congregation but there was little faith involved and no growth within. I was a robot, doing what I thought needed to be done but not necessarily what was the right or righteous thing to do. I thought that my consistent service to the church was enough to keep me in good standing with the Lord but of course I was wrong. I had to be taught through trial, through hurt, through messengers and through pain. These things all led to one goal, strengthening my relationship with Christ. The things that I experienced drove me to my knees and I would not pray as usual but I began to pray from my heart, "Lord help me." Each time I would hit my knees and talk to the Lord, I would receive the same answer, "You need to find yourself in the Word." I would think, "Find myself? Where do I start?" As each obstacle and situation arose I would read scriptures that I thought pertained to my current situation. I would place myself mentally in the text so that I could relate to the feelings and thoughts of those being tried in the scriptures. I soon began to recognize the similarities between some of the stories in the bible and the things I was going through. I began to see and understand the character of God in those scriptures more clearly and how He interacted, instructed, chastised and loved those whom He dealt with. I began to find myself in the Word. My prayer changed from a laundry list of wants and needs to a dialogue filled with quiet places so that I could hear the mind of the Spirit. I began to ask what to do rather than doing things and later pleading with the Lord to make it right. Each day I would acknowledge His presence with me and His concern for me in life. I realized that I am connected with Him and there is nothing anyone or anything could do to change that. I sought the Lord if haply I would feel Him and find Him even though He was not far from me. He opened my heart and planted His agape-love and love for Him within. I understood with great clarity that I do live and move and have my being in Him alone.
The revelation of who I am as a Christian became clear. I don't follow Christ just because this is what Christians are supposed to do. If this were the case, I would easily be led astray by insignificant differences among men and crafty reasoning uttered by skeptics. I am not just a part of a religion called Christianity but a relationship through Christ which was named so because those who witnessed the beauty that comes from it. What is Christianity? I was told the answer a while ago by a Pastor and I have to agree,"Christianity is not a religion but a relationship."
When we move from away from mere "religious" acts and do things because we love God and want Him to be pleased then we represent who we truly are as Christians.
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You are so right Christy it is not a religion, but a relationship. A relationship that non other can surpass or even come close to. It is getting to know God and getting to know His word. For His word is His express image. Great article! Blessings, Shron