Many people come to me and tell me that I am following a religion so blindly. I don’t entertain them much because I know that they are the ones who are against me being born again. The men see that they have lost something that they can take advantage of and those friends I used to hang out with can see that with Jesus I am climbing higher and have the full potential to reach my dreams. Many smart intellectuals always try to convince me to not be narrow minded and look at life in another perspective. What they don’t know is that I have done that before, I have been through it all. I have searched for Satanism; I have searched for Rastafarian, if that’s a name of a religion. I have considered atheism; in my 23 years of life I have practically tried it all. I have tried different toxic substances, I have tried different men, I have tried different friends, I have tried different courses, and practically I used all the freedom I had to live my life to the fullest. What I’m getting into here is the fact that all my life I had a choice, just like everybody else. I had a choice either to continue living in the world or to try something different which in this case is following Jesus. My parents never really played a big part in my decision making, well yea, except choosing a religion for me.
I hate religion. I hate religion because it almost destroyed my life. My grandfather was a priest in the Anglican Church and thus making my grandmother a priest’s wife, “Mma Muriti” as we call it in Tswana. I don’t know much about my grandfather’s life and his real state in the Lord because he passed away before I was mature or wise enough to discern certain things. I visit my grandmother who still lives with some of my uncles and one of them is also a priest, not sure actually, but he wears those black garments with grey neck collar when he goes to church. It’s so amazing how religion can disguise certain things. Not to be judgmental or anything but in the church my uncle puts on his most holy face, walks in a certain holy way, hands close together and fingers locked together. In the church my uncle is respectful and speaks in a certain way but as soon as he takes of his garment in the household where true Christianity is, he becomes a totally different person. Yes he swears, he disrespects, he steals, and it’s so ironic hey. But I honestly don’t blame him because I was once also blinded by religion. It takes a special encounter with Jesus to break this curse of hypocrisy and really live for God.
Oh I said that religion was forced on me, yup! I was literally forced to go to church as a child, I guess that’s what every parent wants for her child, to have morals and laws to govern you. You know the laws: Do not touch boys otherwise you’ll fall pregnant. Go to church otherwise you’ll go to hell. All those laws that cripple you with fear that you end up living your life trying so hard to be a good person. Ironically these people who chuff religion down your throat are the same ones who don’t lead by example. They swear and disrespect their spouses in your presence. They send underage children to liquor stores to buy them alcohol. They curse their own children with their own lips, and on Sunday they angrily command them to go to church. And at the church what do we find? A priest in his holy garment reciting the same prayers which he doesn’t mean. In the corners sleeping around with the members of the church or the treasurer stealing the money raised for the church. You might say that I’m only pointing out the worst, but that’s what religion does to people, you only see the worst. In Schweizer-Reneke I had a young lady telling me how much she detests women who wear church uniform because they have such a cruel heart. See, religion does not resemble Jesus; it only fills the victim with selfishness, anger, pride, bitterness. Religion is full of condemnation, therefore, breaking relationships within the family and the world outside.
I might sound like I am contradicting myself as a Christian, but no I’m all up for Jesus. Where else can I go to when nothing seemed to work? I have been going through a pretty toughh trial concerning sexual purity. I had literally reached a point where I had just given up on pursuing purity and righteousness. Although it was not manifested in my actions but it was re-occurring thoughts in my mind. Why do I have to do this? Everybody around me is having sex and they are enjoying their lives. Pssst, this husband that I’m waiting for will he ever come, and how long am I going to wait when I have guys all over giving me the attention that I have never had in my entire life. You can imagine how these thoughts drew me away from God because of the sin of distrust in an omniscient God. When I said I had reached a point where I did not care it was this bad and although my spirit was defiled because of doubt I could not bring myself to committing the physical act. But just by thinking about it I felt separated from God, followed by condemnation. Looking at my load of school work and the events around me, and how much I felt demotivated to go on, I knew that I had reached a point where I could not do it by myself anymore. Now religion would say I have to go and fix myself first before I can come to God, but He just says come to me just as you are. I want you to understand that unlike many people who gave you the wrong concept of Christianity. God does not push you away. He knows when you have tried and when you can’t go on anymore and he’s there to pick you up.
Oh Lord, fix me!
For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. ~Romans 7:19
I remember how in the past I was bound by religion, always trying to live a holy life by my good works yet always ended up bringing disgrace to my name and to the name of the Lord. I went down on my knees once again and I said, “God, I don’t want to ever go through that pain anymore.” On the 15th of April 2012 I encountered you and made a decision to follow you, make me stick with my decision. I don’t care how I feel right now, I don’t care what I did or said yesterday, I don’t care about my weaknesses, I just want you. I did not choose this life for myself, I could have easily stayed there in the world, or went to another promising religion, but you chose me so carry me through. (You don’t chose this kind of life for yourself, God choses you and it’s up to you whether you answer the call or not. He says many are called but few are chosen. Mary didn’t chose to be the mother of Jesus, God chose her for that. It’s the same with us; you choose to answer God’s call for your life. Lesego Serolong Holzapfel). Being called by God is different from following a religion blindly. With religion you have to appear strong, respected and holy at all times but with Jesus its okay to cry out like a baby, it’s okay to humble yourself like a child. God I can’t do it anymore! I have been spending so many troubled and sleepless nights crying out for the hand of God because I found that the things that I should not do, those are the things that I wanted to do. For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do!! And when I cry out to Jesus I discover that there is therefore now no condemnation to me because I am in Christ Jesus, I walk according to the spirit not according to the flesh. And then…grace abounds!
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? ~Romans 6:1
Being a very religious person before I encountered Jesus I always walked into sin. I did it intentionally. Nothing that a Sunday church service could not fix. Nothing that posting a bible verse on a social network and getting many likes could not fix. Oh, nothing that false humility could not fix, nothing that a loud prayer in tongues could not fix. I looked good and holy in people’s eyes and that made me feel good. When we follow a religion blindly we are setting ourselves up for failure and mockery that is why I tell people that I have been there. They say you follow a religion so blindly and I say how can I follow something blindly when I have been there? It’s all about an encounter. You see as much as my flesh is throbing to be a slave of sin, I still cannot. The Spirit of God has taken full control over my body and I can boldly say that being made free from sin, I became the slave of righteousness. Yes, my mind wants to throw in the towel and masturbate, my mind wants to watch pornography, my mind wants to tongue down every guy who’s hitting on me right now, but I can’t because where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Freedom not to sin but freedom to keep away from sin. Aint nothing like religion here. If I hadn’t encountered Jesus my life would have been destroyed, I would have probably committed suicide for the fact that I’m ashamed of not being strong enough to hold on to this cross, but it is the love and strength of Jesus that draws me closer to the throne room of grace to help in times of need. Oh man I love this Man Jesus!
Heavenly Father in your sweet precious name, I pray for the people reading this. Perhaps they have been bound by religion for so long which made it impossible for them to experience true love and freedom in you…I don’t know, but you know. Free them Lord, break every chain of condemnation just like you did with me and give them a fresh encounter with You King Jesus. We love you so much! Amen