I clicked on a new group I was added to, geared up to introduce myself and network with new people. The pinned post popped up and clear as day I saw: “Please no posts that contain anything about hot button topics like religion or politics.” I cringed and clicked the little “Leave Group” button. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last, but every time, I desire to say that my faith isn’t a topic. It’s who I am.
There was a time when I was afraid to post anything religious in nature on my blog because I didn’t want to “be controversial”. It was my husband who reminded me that I shouldn’t be ashamed of my relationship with Jesus Christ, it’s Biblical. You can live for the heart of God or the heart of men, but not both.
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God…” 2 Timothy 1:8
“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15
“Sing to the LORD; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods.” Psalm 96:2-4
I understand that with people debating and arguing about their opinions all of the time, it can seem like a divisive subject but people need to realize that this is my number one priority. God comes first, every time. Jesus saved my crumbling life. With everything I do, I try to ask first, “How does this glorify God?” I want to shine the light of Jesus with my actions, my feelings, my heart. I feel it deep inside of me and the further it goes, the more free I feel.
Yesterday, I was reading an opinion piece about how religion these days is “in”, like a club of like-minded individuals who hang out. This wasn’t the first time I’ve heard this idea. A friend once said to me, “Everyone has their own place where they fit in. That’s how I feel in the group I go to!” I think that’s where some of the confusion lies, Jesus is in ME, not just my social life.
The word “community” is actually in the mission of my church: “Connecting the community to Christ.” Faith is so much more than the community and love of our church and its members, though. The fellowship aspect is like a perk but having a relationship with Jesus Christ is the best, most personal and private thing that you will ever do.
Let’s take prayer, for instance. There are tons of verses about prayer in the Bible. It’s one of the most important things we do. We pray with gratitude. We pray for help, for others. We can attend prayer meetings or pray with our families before a meal, but the bulk of your prayers are likely done as a private conversation between you and the Lord.
“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3
When I’m anxious and grasping my cross while I pray for relief, that’s not “a topic”. On my knees in an empty home, handing up my troubles to God and thanking Him for all of the storms He brought me through, that’s not “a topic”.
“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” James 5:13
I sing praises to my King every day, while I’m cleaning, cooking, driving… I sing Him my praises at church. In one setting, I am by myself. In the other, I’m surrounded by a crowd of people doing the same. Yet in both, it’s just me singing to my Savior. It’s never about “a group” at all.
My God is my first thought in the morning. He is who I turn to when I am angry. He is where I summon strength from when I am overwhelmed. If you look at me and I’m silent, my head is down or my eyes look
So please, understand that I can’t be quiet and I won’t. Please understand that this isn’t about a social status, trend, or conversation. I’m not in a club that I want you to join, I’ve found a light that I want to shine. You don’t have to step into it but please don’t try to shut the door on me.