On a daily basis I interact with readers who come from nearly every location on the faith continuum. Many are either disenchanted, burned out, or aren’t quite sure where they are headed anymore. Yet, most seem to still be fascinated with this person called Jesus.
My advice for everyone, regardless of the particular place you may find yourself, is to hit the “reset” button on your faith structure and to simply start over– rebuilding faith and life upon the teachings of Jesus and nothing else. This is the action that saved my faith back in the day, as I came to realize that the missing piece of my Christian faith was Christ himself.
I have no idea why it had taken me so long to realize the missing piece of my faith was actually the person my “religion” was named after. Sure, Jesus was part of it. Sometimes he may have even been the center of it, but he was never all of it. No matter how nice I could force myself to describe it, my old faith paradigm was never a faith that boiled down to following Jesus– it was diluted with too much other garbage.
For much of my faith experience, the praxis of my faith was centered on loyalty to labels, loyalty to tradition, loyalty to a “movement”– loyalty to a lot of things other than Jesus. Eventually, that type of faith paradigm had lost all appeal to me because it was tangled in a mess of too many labels and theological traditions.
You see, if we want to discover a faith paradigm that is life-giving instead of a constant drain on us, it must be totally and completely centered on Jesus– and nothing else. We must be willing to let go of anything that is detracting from the centrality of Christ- even if that means walking away from some long-held belief systems, American civil religion, or the Christian tradition we’ve spent our whole lives moving within.
And this is why, whoever you are and wherever you are, perhaps the best thing you can do for your faith is to hit the reset button and start over by reorientating your faith on Jesus, and shedding any other loyalty or previous foundations. Hitting this reset button will invite you on a journey where you’ll rediscover that it’s not about whether or not we are Calvinist, Arminian, that it’s not about whether or not we’re Charismatic, Protestant, Catholic, or an Anabaptist…
The question that really matters is: are we people living our lives the way Jesus lived his?
I’ve been invited to follow a lot of traditions, a lot of movements, and to follow a lot of particular doctrines, but I’ve rarely had people simply invite me to follow Jesus. Unfortunately, regardless of which tradition, movement, or doctrine faith is orientated upon- regardless of whether or not the traditions or doctrines are good and correct– such a faith becomes a spiritual parasite that slowly drains the life force from within. It can be sustained for a time, but in the end it brings spiritual death.
Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t invite us into a rigid religion, a tiresome tradition, or loyalty to a black-and-white set of doctrines– Jesus simply invites us to get up and follow in his footsteps.
When we find Jesus in the New Testament, we don’t see him passing out a lengthy statement of faith, church constitutions or church bylaws– we simply find him offering people the invitation to put down whatever it is they’re carrying in their arms, and to follow him.
Are you finding yourself burned out on faith? Disenchanted with Christian religion? Lost as to what it even means to be a Christian anymore?
Today I’d invite you to set all those things aside and hit the reset button on your faith by returning to the red words of Scripture and rebuilding a faith that looks like Jesus– and only Jesus.
It might save your faith– it did mine.
This post is an adaptation from Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus. Pages 27-28. You can order your own copy of the book by clicking here.