“There’s a sign on the door that says “come as you are” but I doubt it. Cause if we lived like this were true every Sunday morning pew would be crowded.”
These lyrics from the Matthew West song “Truth Be Told” seemed to jump right out of the radio and pierce my heart. I can’t even remember where I was driving to or what day of the week it was. I only remember that feeling of seriousness that fell over me as thoughts and questions swirled around in my head.
Come as you are, I thought. I wonder how often we get dressed in our Sunday best only our Sunday best is the fake smile we put on as our little piece of flare or the everything’s okay super Christian façade we wear as an over coat to distract from the less than flattering parts of our figure. Come as you are.
I then began to think I am pretty sure the gospel message is one of Come as you are.
In Romans 5, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this While we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
In Matthew 11, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
In Luke 5, Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
My thoughts traveled to my own experiences do I come as I am? Do I welcome others to come as they are? Am I following a set of rules and standards? Or Jesus? Does my walk look like Jesus and the disciples or the pharisees? Am I being “Religious” or am I in Relationship?
I recently came across this quote from an unknown author, “Religion is a guy in church thinking about fishing. Relationship is a guy out fishing thinking about God.”
I talk a lot about my relationship with Jesus and I have found that someone will usually respond with a comment about church. This bothered me for a while because I took it personally, like I was somehow coming of as “Religious”, and I so desperately wanted them to know that I was not. I even found myself quoting sayings like “Religion doesn’t save people; Jesus Does!” just so people would be clear that I was not being religious.
What I was missing in all this was that it had nothing to do with me. There is an overwhelming percentage of people who in some way shape or form have been hurt by religion and their only perception of Jesus is through a lens of not measuring up. We have to stop. Religion divides it creates an “us vs them” mentality. It breeds an atmosphere where if you don’t look like me, act like me or think like me, you don’t belong. This is completely opposite the gift that is offered through relationship with Jesus and it’s time we stop and set ourselves straight.
My Challenge to you today is to look around you. Are there people in your life who are completely unworthy of your time, attention, and love? Do you see them? Can they stand before you and receive the same overwhelming love that you receive when you stand before Jesus?
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”