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Losing my Religion

The first time I heard this phrase was when Kirk Franklin released his album back in 2015. There was so much controversy behind this because people assumed he was losing his belief in God or he was leaving the faith- I even read a Facebook post that said " see all ya'll God believers, what ya'll gotta say now" hence, implying there is no God and Kirk was to prove it. When I explored an article Kirk did he said " religion is mans attempt to try and put a definition on something that is very hard to define" he went on to explain how we end up missing the incredible story of God and how religion creates a cloud around the truth. With "religion" God becomes misinterpreted and with "religion" we get far away from the truth- the Gospel, the Bible.

In my eyes "Religion" divides people and can be a subtle trick of the enemy. Today, there are so many different denominations, different beliefs, different messages ect. that people try to add or take away from the source- the Bible. Doing so, brings about division where rituals take precedence over God's truth. I went to a conference last weekend- Sara Jakes Roberts, Woman Evolve in Denver Colorado and pastor Toure Roberts shared in his sermon about how he was counseling a woman who told him she was leaving the faith and when he proceeded to ask her why, she went on to tell him because of the people- how judgemental they were, how they lived their life in contradiction to what the bible said, how they treated people ect. The minister went on to tell her that she wasn't leaving the faith, Christianity, but she was leaving religion. My "religion" is my relationship with Christ. My "religion" is what the bible says. My "religion" is a lifestyle that desires to pick up my cross ( my flesh, my desires, my way) and take it and follow Christ according to scripture. What defines my "religion"? It is what the bible says and sitting under a bible based church ministry and being pastored by a faithful man of God who lives a holy life and teaches the word of God. I fully lost my religion back in 2012. Each and every day even as I sit here and write this post- I reflect on just how "religious" I was.

I grew up in the Baptist church and went to church every Sunday. I sang in the church choir, I attended Sunday school, I went to vacation bible school, and youth conventions, lock in, camps ect. however, my lifestyle mimicked the worlds. The bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:17 "come from among them and be ye separate, says the Lord touch no unclean thing and I will receive you". Coming out from among them means there has to be a difference. If I am doing what the world does and engaging in the world's activity then claiming to live Christlike- there is a contradiction. Because of my flesh- I am no where near perfect; no one is and no one will ever be-; however the more time I spend with God in my personal prayer closet the more I desire him, the more I want to live his way according to his word, and the more I desire to align my life, my thoughts, words and actions to his. I can remember when I became of age to date and go out- my mom would warn me " you can stay out as late as you want but you will get up and go to church". This became my routine- clubbing Saturday night yet standing up and singing in the choir Sunday morning. Church was becoming my weekly checkoff assignment with little personal relationship, no bible reading, and scripture studying, no fellowship with spiritual leaders or mentors and most importantly no lifestyle change. Now don't get me wrong I appreciate the sound foundation I received from my church and what my parents were instilling in me however, after I got married in 2010, my husband told me he wanted to grow spiritually. As the spiritual leader of my family I could only respect his decision and follow his lead so we left the church I grew up in and began our journey to seek a non-denominational church. Losing my religion has cost me my own lusts, pride and is continuing to shape me into a Christ like individual. Even on my "good" days I fall short however, because I have lost my religion and have developed an intimate personal relationship with God, I see just how this is the most important relationship I could ever have here on Earth. God the Father sits on the throne and as Jesus (who is God and was God in the flesh) sits on the right hand of God making intersessions on our behalf he hears our every cry. Jesus paid it all on the cross- if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved. This is the first step of losing your religion. Just as athletes practice for the game- we as believers must practice and exercise our faith. I encourage you to carve out a tangible space in your home, dedicate it to God, make a commitment to spend time there daily, pray, read God's word and cast all your cares on him literally behind closed doors- don't worry no one is watching- just you and God. I pray that God will reveal himself to you like none

before and that you will grow to desire to spend more time with him so he can begin to reveal himself and your purpose to you. When God created you he had an assignment on your life- I pray that losing your "religion" will birth your relationship and purpose on this side of life.

As I write to encourage and inspire you, I write to encourage and sustain myself.

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