Faith Isn't Religion
Following Jesus calls for faith.
Yet, faith and religion aren’t the same. Faith isn’t religion.
Don’t confuse the two!
Typically, religion is made up of two components: There is a set of statements about what a group of people, an organization, a movement, or a society consider to be true. And there are rules, rituals and traditions to follow, as applications of these truths.
Faith, however, is beyond those things. It’s originated in another realm… it springs forth out of your spirit.
Faith is your genuine trust in God, including your actions based on that trust.
Faith cannot be institutional or traditional. It’s always personal, and always fresh.
It’s rooted deep inside of you, generating qualities such as confidence, motivation, vision, courage, mental strength, patience, endurance… Faith is the ultimate motor of your actions.
Religion is great as long as it provides a positive, supporting environment for that faith. At its best, it amplifies your faith. Then, religion may work out for you.
However, that’s not always the case. As you develop spiritually, the opposite can become true. In fact, at some point, religion can hinder your faith. Even kill it.
While faith lets you imagine what could be possible and encourages you to act on that imagination, take risks, explore and conquer, religion reinforces the status-quo.
Religion makes you fit in, not stand out.
Religion is like a blanket overlaid on top of your faith. As long as you accept its limits or don’t ever recognize them, you feel fine under that blanket and enjoy whatever it offers.
However, for those who want to take initiative and practice an amount of freedom that is beyond those limits, the blanket turns into an iron ceiling, mentally and spiritually.
Once you reach that point, you have only two options: stay, adapt to the status quo and let it limit your faith, or leave.
In case you are alive enough to leave, people may wonder whether you lost your faith. Probably, rather the opposite is true, though. Stepping out can be the very consequence of your faith. You leave because your faith requires it. What you leave is not your faith, but just a certain temporary religious, social or cultural expression of it.
Leaving is never a convenient step. It’s painful, because you’ll have to leave a familiar, secure and confirming environment. It’s like climbing an unknown mountain. From time to time, it’s necessary, though, if you want to grow as a disciple and become more fruitful.
To others it may look foolish, or like a heresy or a betrayal. Or they may even envy you but decide to stay, because the price seems too high.
You, however, are ready.