All of the world’s religions, no matter how different, have one thing in common: they are all comprised of laws. Whether it’s a modern Christian church in Dubai or a Hindu temple in India, all of them follow a particular set of rules its believers must follow. From a perspective of people who want to do what is right and bring about a change in themselves and others, all these commands that have to be followed seem like a good thing.
Unfortunately, with religion and its many laws, you can only do so much – or so little, rather. In fact, through a system of laws and beliefs alone, we can never fully comprehend God or help ourselves to become better men and women. Thankfully, through Jesus Christ, we can go beyond what religion is teaching us and truly follow the Lord.
Relationship, Not Religion
Jesus did not come to this world to support or start any religion. The changes he inspired in his followers were not based on any specific guidelines, but on his actions. And when he has died, lived again, and returned to the heavens, the legacy of Christ continued through his followers, as they believed that our Lord and Savior lives in and through them. And because of this worldview, this relationship between the son of God and men, it has become a revolutionary movement that was ahead of its time.
In 200AD, however, things began to change. Christianity, which started as a great spiritual uprising, became more and more of an institutionalized religion – the very thing Jesus Christ did not want Christianity to be.
But Why Not Religion?
But don’t get it twisted – laws by themselves are not bad. However, they are not completely beneficial either. This is because they can only tell you the things you should and shouldn’t be doing. And most of the time, you fail in following them because of your limited and sinful nature as a human being. To make matters worse, if you abide too much by the rules, you will feel frustrated with yourself whenever you fall short.
Another drawback of living life through the eyes of religion is that you will always feel like you are missing out whether you choose the way of the world or of the law. If you follow the former, you will feel guilty and weak for succumbing to sin. On the other hand, if you adhere to the latter, it’s easy to think that you are missing out on all the pleasurable things a carnal life offers when in fact it doesn’t.
Following Jesus Christ
If you are to break this cycle of following the law, failing to follow it, and feeling downtrodden for doing so, you must abide by Christ instead of religion. For according to Jesus himself:
“I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” -John 15: 5
Instead of trying to follow the law and stumbling every time because we are drawing from our own strength, we should ask Jesus Christ to live in us so we can walk in grace. By doing so, just like what was mentioned in John 15:5, we would be surprised to see ourselves able to live according to God’s word, change to the men and women God wants us to be, and bear the fruits of the spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” -Galatians 5:22
Truth be told, it’s so much easier to follow the law than Jesus himself. However, in the long run, it’s also a lot more tiresome and damaging. On the other hand, following Christ and having a relationship with Him will lead to a way of life that is transformative, empowering, and upright.