This Page - Gay Christian, Gay Christians, Lesbian Christians discern true Christianity from false Christianity, detailed discussion on spiritual burn out. (Includes the ultimate result of embracing religion and legalism, instead of following and embracing God's love and acceptance, and abiding in full relationship with Jesus).
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I grew up in a nice home, with loving parents, and yet, I hated myself, had very low self-esteem. I believed, falsely, that in order to achieve love and acceptance from my parents, family, and peers, I had to be the best at everything. This was the pair of glasses through which I saw the world, my base or foundation. I interpreted everything I saw, did, or came in contact with, through this view. What must be understood is this view was false, and so, then, was my world.
In college, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, and as a good, new Christian, I was excited and zealous for the Lord. Though I was re-born in Christ, I still carried with me many old habits, and foundations. So, it was only natural for me to approach my relationship with God in the same manner as I did with the rest of the world. I thought, in order to please God, I had to be the best Christian, pray, study and know the Bible, witness, and serve more than anyone else. The end result of many years of this practice and interpretation was complete spiritual burnout. I only recovered, and found true Christianity, through a direct personal intervention from God, a touch of Godís love.
I learned the definition of a Christian is based not on what you do, but who you are; who you are will determine what you do, and the right spirit behind what you do. What I was practicing wasnít Christianity, but religion.
The definition of religion is "a set of rules, regulations, a system of beliefs or practices," whereby mankind tries to connect with God; this describes the majority of the world's religions. Christianity is the only religion that is not a "religion;" it is wrong to think "all religions are basically the same or are different paths to the same end." No, Christianity is defined as the "literal adoption of a person into an eternal personal relationship and fellowship with God and God's Family." The majority of the world's religions are devoted to people taking the initiative, turning inward or heavenward in the hopes of improving themselves, connect with God, and/or achieve some eternal reward; Christianity is the only "religion" where God took the initiative and reached down to us, and gives us not improved lives but a total new birth.
So, here I present to you some thoughts and observations to help you see and determine if you follow true Christianity, or false Christianity, mere religion. Knowing these things may help you understand why you think as you do, why you approach your relationship with God a certain way. Further, you might find insight into why and how you view yourself, why you approach God or Christianity the way you do, and determine if that way is true or false.
As a gay person, it is very easy for you to get involved in religion, "false Christianity," or even other religions, in the attempt and hopes that you might either be "cured," find a "miracle," suppress, deny or hide it. True Christianity teaches you how to be yourself, and celebrate self with responsibility, joy, peace, faith, hope, and Love.
Please read page one of this discussion if you haven't already, before finishing here.
piritual burn out, in its many shapes and forms, can actually be a good thing. Itís the admittance for once in your life that you donít have all the answers, you don't know everything, you aren't perfect and donít know what to do. Itís at this point Jesus finally has a chance to speak, act, and show you Godís realities. For the first time, you are clay willing to be molded by the Master Potter, into the precious vessel Godís always envisioned you to be. Letting go and letting God, means just that, really letting go. It means letting go of all preconceived notions or ideas, of things ingrained into you by other people or yourself. It means letting go of rules, dogmas, regulations, and laws, and embracing a new and daring thing. It means listening to what Jesus says about you instead of what self or other people say. It means laying your life at Christ's feet... leaving it there... and rising up to a new life plan and path God has always intended for you, but youíve just been too stubborn, too in charge to let go, and embrace.
What is this new life plan and path? Relationship, not Religion.
Religion preached rock music was the "devilís music," banned it, preached against it from the pulpit. Today, we have Christian rock bands. Through understanding Relationship, weíve discovered there is nothing inherently wrong with music, only the messages some of it contains, or the format in which it is presented. Weíve learned music is gray, not black or white, how you choose to use it determines whether or not it is good or bad.
Relationship tells us most of life is neither good nor bad, right nor wrong, black nor white, how we walk in lifeís choices determines whether or not they are edifying and uplifting, or abusive, and demeaning. Relationship tells us what might be permissible for one person, may not be for you, and you shouldnít be jealous of another personís liberties in Christ, nor should that person look upon you as weak. Relationship teaches us to uplift one another, to not cause each other to stumble, not to consider ourselves more highly than we ought, to be quick to forgive, and quicker to love.
Religion calls Thomas, one of Jesus' disciples, "doubting Thomas," Relationship calls Thomas, "affirming Thomas." Thomas needed to see Jesus in the flesh to know for certain that Jesus was raised from the dead. Thomas questioned, he needed to see evidence, he wanted to make certain, before he would commit his faith. Jesus made a special appearance so Thomas could see and believe. Thomas used his brain, and Jesus honored him.
Religion taught Jesus' disciples you had to be a Jew to be saved. Even though they knew salvation was through Jesus, they still believed you had to become a Jew. Then, a non-Jewish family appeared, saved just like them, and yet, they were anything but Jewish. What to do? Dig the moat deeper, pull up the drawbridge, and rest behind their walls of dogma and doctrine? Or, recognize our understanding of God is often limited, and embrace this "new thing?" Relationship taught them to embrace these "strange" Christians.
Religion taught Peter to hate himself. He saw Jesus teaching, and healing, and he couldn't handle being in such a loving presence. Religion made him ask Jesus to "depart from me, for I am a sinful man." But Relationship didnít make Jesus agree with Peter, point out all Peterís flaws, nor send him away; instead, Relationship caused Jesus to love Peter all the more, accept him without condition, remain always with him.
Relationship is a radical concept to most people, but interestingly enough, itís the heart of all we desire. A relationship takes the risk, revelation, commitment, and dedication of both parties involved. In the case of relationship with God, God has already done everything to make it work with you. All you have to do is receive it. Itís up to you to cease from your labors, throw aside all your doubts, fears, reservations, anxieties, misunderstandings, and preconceived notions about relationship with God. The moment you let go, God is now free to move within you, and through you.
When God created you, you were created to abide in lifelong, intimate relationship with Jesus and God. Each of us, in our own way, have gone astray, and weíve been trying to find our way back ever since. What we often fail to realize is the "trying" is the problem. God doesnít call us to "do," but to "be." Through Jesus Christ, the way has been opened to God, and all we have to do is "come home."
You donít have to do anything to earn Godís love and acceptance of you. It's already there, really. You donít have to be the best at spiritual things, or anything in life, because Jesusí love for you never changes. You don't have to prove yourself pure, worthy, or faithful, because God, through Christ, has already declared you to be these things.
hen you called to God, God heard you, and came into your life to live together with you in relationship. You were literally adopted into Godís family. In all of history, in every country, an adopted child can never be disinherited. You can disappoint your Parent God, but never cause God to disinherit you. You can move away from God, but God will never move away from you. Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal son, who though he left his Dad, every day his Dad searched the horizon for his return, and seeing his returning son, ran down the road to meet him.
In Godís family, God becomes your literal Father, and Jesus your literal Brother. But they are both more than this. God is not just your Father, but your "Abba," the Bible word meaning "Da-Da," a term used by small toddler children. To the child, Da-Da is everything, and Da-Da is everything to the child. A childís arms are wide open to his Da-Da, and so is your Da-Da towards you. God, your Da-Da is always on your side, always has your best interests at heart, desires you to be the person you are meant to be. God, your Da-Da, is Love.
For whom would you rather have as an employer or boss? A Judge or a Coach? Yes, Iíd prefer a Coach, too. A Judge is always critical, finding fault, no room for error, prices paid for mistakes, and you have to prove yourself if you want to be released from punishment.
But, a Coach inspires. A Coach motivates you to be better, not to prove through "doing," but to show what you can "be." A Coach corrects errors but doesnít see your identity in them, doesnít dwell on them. A Coach never corrects without praising you even more. A Coach works with you, along side you, often doing the same routines, or showing you how to do them correctly. A Coach doesnít do the work, but inspires you to do it, and more. A Coach knows your potential when you donít, and takes you to that potential and beyond. A Coach is there when you stumble, inspires you to get up and move on. A Coach never gives up on you, is there at the end of the race, cheering you on to victory, whether that victory for you is first place or seventh place.
God, your Da-Da, isn't some Judge sitting on a Throne, checking your list twice, trying to find out if youíve been naughty or nice. God, your Da-Da, is the best Coach you could ever have, and thatís a good thing.
Jesus is the Big Brother youíve always wanted in life. He's the Big Brother you want to be like in every way, you want to grow up to be just like Him. Heís there to play with you, guide and teach you. Heís been through everything youíll ever go through, and been there first, full of wisdom and advice on life to share with you.
God is more concerned about your position and relationship with you than with what you do in life. Who you are determines what you do, and who you are is Da-Daís child. This is your real foundation, your real base, the real pair of glasses through which you should view yourself and life. Walk in this sure foundation, and you shall have life and have it abundantly. God is more concerned with the motivations of your heart, the reasons behind what you do, or actually what you do. Recall good meaning people who do good deeds but for the wrong reasons and motivations; often people seem to be right on the surface, but God looks at the heart. Your motivations should be built on the sure foundation of your Relationship with God, and operate in Godís medium of Love.
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