Our view of God is a result of how we have been indoctrinated. In other words, whether you believe in God or not is influenced by your experiences, your history; be it in church, outside of church, experiences with Christians, or non-Christians. The experiences we have mold our view of God/Church/Jesus.
My experiences have affected me. As a young person, God was real, but distant (Catholic). In my teen years God was introduced as an alternative to going to hell (Calvary Chapel – Jesus Movement era). As an adult, and on into the ministry years God was introduced through ritual, “this is how we do it” protocols (Baptist). However, I have come to see God through the person of Jesus found in the New Testament, and the ministry of Jesus confirms to me that God desires relationship with me not a religion. Jesus calls me to follow Him in relationship how about you?
Think about this, what if all you have experienced in churches could be erased and you could start fresh, start all over again with a perspective of Jesus that is not tainted by, or inaccurately represented by past experiences.
If you were to look at Jesus through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John the four accounts of Jesus’ life found in the Gospels here is what you would find, it is relational! Rules don’t make a relationship LOVE DOES! This is love, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13 NLT). This is what Jesus did for us all.
If you start loving Jesus you will start doing things differently. You’ve been in love; you know when love is in your heart you start thinking and doing things differently. Jesus loves you. He says follow me. He doesn’t say; follow religion, the church, or a charismatic leader. He simply says, “Follow Me.”
Take a look at the Jesus of the New Testament. He is much different than what you may have experienced. He accepts you “as-is.” He doesn’t say change, and then you can follow me. The good news is when you begin to follow the Jesus of Scripture He changes you!
You choose, follow/not-follow