Many people confuse Christianity with religion, but they are supposed to be 2 totally different things. Religion is a belief that relies on set laws or patterns of worship, behavior and practices. Many religions operate under the label of Christianity and began with that goal in mind. However, as it did in Jesus day, the word of God became twisted by man and his mindset and desires. they often take verse from within the word of God and use them as precepts and laws through which they either attach expectations of behavior or total abolishment of certain activities as being "sins". They "sins' can run the gamut from dancing to drinking. Some believe that sin is an unbeatable way of life and that as long as we are in flesh we will sin, however even in that they twist the word of God to suit that analogy, using the belief of "once saved, always saved". Religion can be used to keep out races, classes, socio-economic backgrounds and even gender. Religion often takes the word of God to fit it's own beliefs and personal agendas, using only snippets of sections that they deem appropriate, leaving out the parts before and after that make the difference in the meaning of the verses. It also contains a judgement mentality, that of my way is the right way and every other way is wrong and bound for judgement. Religion has a way of protecting and promoting the most judgemental and self righteous and villifying the ones who seek a true relationship with God and desire to see what HE has to say about His word. Religion in and of itself was not created to be this way. Man made it this way and it began when man put his opinion over that of God's, when we decided that what God said was not what He truly meant. Religion has allowed those who are often the most sin covered to cast judgement on those deemed unworthy of salvation by Man. It hides in back rooms and board rooms and in the underbelly of our nation, masquerading itself as a self help book on a shelf in the front of Barnes and Noble. Religion has been used to further political agendas, personal beliefs and as a soap box for some of the world's worst to obtain their self serving manifestos of greatness and leadership. They cover their true nature under the coat tails of the Bible, teaching it through the voice of a mere man as opposed to preaching and teaching under the anointing of God. Religion in and of itself has put blemishes upon the face of Christianity that make deep rooted scars and wounded souls who learn from self appointed "preachers" that they can never achieve the level of "spirituality" they have for they are never going to be "holy " enough.
Christianity , as designed by God, demonstrated throught the life of Jesus, is NOT what most of us have experienced. True Christianity comes with no price tag or to do list, it contains no by-laws and subsections of behaviors that are required to gain access into the kingdom. It's design was simplistic and altogether realistic for a man to achieve. It does not expect perfection, but does call for repentance. It does not require a greart deal of money, or knowledge, the presentation of it is so simple that even a child can understand. Which is convenient for that is what we are called to be, children. Yes, Jesus told us to have sheperds, but He was to be the head sheperd. A leader was to never step out of the presence and anointing of God in his leadership. True leaders are the first to admit their faults and failures, but they also know the God who can redeem them from their mistakes. they not only call those who are weak and weary into teh presence of God , they are there themselves. They seek to be Christ like in their endeavors, and to show us how to do the same. Christ called us to be compassionate, loving, kind, patient, faithful and longsuffering. It is in the simplicity of walking as Christ did that we have trouble. We know in whom we have put our trust and in whom we have believed. We see the examples of Jesus throughout the bible. He sought those that were ostracized by religion, and attempted to bring those who placed themselves on teh pedestal of religion to come dosn and simply be a human being. Full of faults and mistakes, but willing to humble themselves in order to serve others. Christianity was not the pursuit of what God can do for me but what can I do for God. to be Christlike is the ultimate goal of Christianity in and of itself. Christ did not pass judgement based upon clothes or money or even social status, it was the least likely to succeed that He was attractive to. He presented himself as a servant not only to mankind but unto God himself. Chrisitianity is the pursuit of seekign the face of God, to walk daily in His presence and to know His word and carry it within ourselves, written upon our very hearts. We are not to hide our mistakes and shortcomings, a righteous man will fall 7 times but to remain in righteousness he must rise back up and admit he fell. Christianity is not in the words that are spoken or the laws we obey but within the hearts of individuals who seek to touch the life of someone else with the peace and knowledge that God has not shut the door on anyone. To reach a lost and dying world that is crying out for someone and somethign to believe in. A true leader will not seek accolades for himself, he will do the will of God inobtrusively and with no fanfare, only to bring glory unto God and the sacrifice of Jesus. I choose to be a Christian, unbound by the tethers and laws of a named denomination. I do not need another title to add to my name, christian should not be who I am but what I live. I donot need the limelight or the titles, I need only to cling to God and be a light for others, humbling myself in servitude to others. When I forget where i came from, then I have forgotten Christ. It is the thorn in our sides that continually reminds us that if not for the mercy and grace of God we would not be standing. For my sins are just as great as anyone else's, so how can I pass judgement on anyone. I am a sheep, He is my sheperd..where He goes i will follow, for my heart seeks to please Him and my life purpose is to brig glory to HIS name.