The Lie Behind: “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual.”

“I’m not religious, I’m spiritual.”

I used to say this after I fell away in my faith. It’s the kind of thing someone might say if they were hurt by the church, or if they’re struggling with agnosticism, or maybe they’re dealing with spiritual forces that aren’t from God. For me, it was all three, but it was the manifestation of the third one that put me on a trajectory towards hell.

Several years ago I was active in the church. I played guitar in the praise band, I was in a Christian rock back, and I was in church every Sunday. I even started going to Bible studies. Then something awesome and terrible happened; I was offered a position in the church council. Sounds great if you know what it entails. I didn’t and I was shocked to find out how political and money-driven it was.

There was a lot of pressure on me to do young adult ministry with zero budget, which meant I would need to come out of pocket. I was already struggling financially and it put more strain as I tried to do a lot with very little. Ultimately, it didn’t work and I asked to step down. I thought it would be cool to acknowledge that I couldn’t handle it and that the church would understand. Instead, I felt a chasm form.

It may have been in my mind, but at the time it felt like a void I couldn’t fill. I felt like they were looking at me differently. Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t; but there was something else in play that drove me further away.

I was still in the Navy and in my third command. I had gone from a place where I had a Christian friend to talk about Jesus to, and found myself in a place where I was surrounded by people who essentially hated God. They would harass me about being a Christian and I would take it, not knowing the best thing to do. I grew angry and resentful, but that anger was less towards them and more towards God. The wear and tear took a few years, but it wore me to the point that I questioned my faith in Jesus. By this point my church life was over, my community with other believers was over, and I was seeking something that made sense to me.

I found it in science fiction; more specifically I found it in UFO conspiracy theories. The ancient astronaut nonsense manipulated history to the point that nearly anything seemed reasonable. I would joke about it being an idea bed for my own writing, but that was merely giving myself permission to keep poisoning my mind. The deeper I got into it, the worse it got. I branched out beyond UFO conspiracies and got into political conspiracies. They aren’t too far apart from one another and the leap was easy. I’m patriotic. I liked the idea of space and potential other lifeforms. And I can totally convince myself of a falsehood if I construct it well enough in my own head. There’s a reason most of these people are also writers (L Ron Hubbard made a religion from his fiction).

The next thing I knew I was an anxiety-ridden, agnostic with false ideas of truth. The thing about truth is, there is only the truth and everything else is lies. The idea that I have my truth and you have yours is a lie. You can’t have your cake and eat it too if your mind convinces yourself of falsehoods. Just because you think it doesn’t make it a reality; just like refusing to accept a truth doesn’t make it false.

Those conspiracies I got wrapped up in were lies with a coat of fresh paint. They were a distraction from the truth to separate me from God. That might sound odd, but evil spiritual forces don’t need to convince you that God doesn’t exist. They simply need to get you to not think about Him. once you’re on the downward spiral, they win, you lose, and the jig is up.

Here’s the absolute truth, God is real, and the warfare in our minds is spiritual in nature. In the Bible, Jesus cast out demons which plagued people, turning them mad. Look around you, the world is mad. There’s a level of mass psychosis that takes effect. It comes from influences that remove God from your attention. The actual conspiracies taking place are the ones where the government wants to be your God, so they remove the real God from everything. No God in school. No God is business. No God in entertainment. No God in culture because it might offend someone. All the while, the government gains more power and authority over you.

We were born to have communion with our Creator. Spiritual forces, not from God, have been seeking to destroy that since the fall of man. Jesus came to restore and redeem our place in God’s creation.

Fifty years ago you would think this nation was a Christian nation. Now look at it. We’re ungodly and self-righteous. What isn’t a conspiracy is that this level of falling away was predicted in the Bible for the last days. There are numerous prophecies regarding the period of history we are in and the final pages of the final chapter are coming to an end. This is about to get very real for some people.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t like God’s rules for your life. He’s God and you are not. He makes the rules and you do not. Refusing to recognize that your disobedience is your fault, and not God’s, makes you willfully ignorant (deliberately stupid). But what’s amazing is that despite being a liar, a murderer, an adulterer, a thief, or someone who just doesn’t want to “get it”, God paved the way for your salvation by giving His son Jesus Christ to die for your sins. He’s the sacrifice that redeems your soul, warts and all.

Here’s the deal. You don’t have to clean yourself up before turning to Jesus. But once you turn yourself to Jesus, you should know that He will be the one cleaning you up. His Holy Spirit will convict you of your sins to deter you from doing the things that lead to your spiritual death. That’s not punishment. That’s keeping you away from punishment.

“I’m not religious, I’m spiritual.” That’s what people say when they don’t want to admit the truth that Jesus is the only way to the Father. Saying that you’re not religious, but spiritual, and declaring that as your truth is self-condemning. You’ve yanked out your own heart and tossed it into the fire. Believe me, I know because I used to say it. Thank God He showed me the path out from the hell in which I was heading.

God Provided the Sacrifice

God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, the same son God promised him would make Abraham the father of a nation. Abraham was obedient, and just before fulfilling an act that would have killed his son, and the future he believed was promised to him, God halted him and provided a ram to be sacrificed instead.

Most people look to the part of the story where God commanded Abraham to kill Isaac, but look past the part of the story where God provided the sacrifice, the atonement for sin.

This story is provocative. But it also illustrates the character of God. He provides the sacrifice; not just for Abraham, but for the world.

Everyone is a sinner and needs atonement for their sin. No one can do anything to earn heaven, but doing absolutely nothing about your sin leads to hell. God provided the ram by ensnaring it in a thicket (thorn bush). Abraham had to retrieve it for it to be sacrificed. God provided his son, Jesus Christ, by offering him as a sacrifice; adorned with a crown of thorns and outstretched hands nailed to a cross.

The sacrifice was made, but in order to receive its power, you must accept it. Just as God commanded Abraham to make a sacrifice, we must make one ourselves, and that is to die to ourselves and give our lives to God. That means obedience in the same way Abraham made the decision to obey God. It isn’t easy. And sometimes it will seem counter to the world, but the ways of the world lead to death, not just physically, but spiritually as well.

Make no mistake, you can never earn your way to heaven. It is not by works that you are saved, but by the blood of Jesus Christ. Only accepting His gift of eternal life will you be saved. There is NO other way. It doesn’t matter what politicians, Hollywood, social media influencers, or your friends/family might say. Jesus Christ is the only way.

This world is set against God and will use every manner of deception to steer you away from the truth. It isn’t a feeling, or something you read on a website, or a flag, or a political affiliation that will lead you to redemption and sanctification. It isn’t a church that points to any of those things either with promises of prosperity and good fortune.

Acceptance and tolerance in things that spit in the face of the living God does not demonstrate “love”. It demonstrates carnality. It shows slavery to the flesh and things of this world; all the things that the powers of evil are using to keep all of us away from eternal life with the God who loved us enough to give His own life in the form of His son Jesus Christ.

Look around you and see the world for what it truly is; a grim place run by the prince of darkness (and not the floundering old Ozzy).

God loves you and wants you to turn to Him. His love is not some faraway thing that you must clean up your act in order to earn. It is given freely just as you are, and by accepting it you become a child of God. You can’t simply change your ways and find favor with God. There’s not a moral to-do list. You can never do or give enough on your own. Those works are nothing more than filthy rags.

It is the Holy Spirit that makes those changes that lead to everlasting life. All you have to do is accept the truth; Jesus was the son of God, He was born of the virgin Mary, he died a sacrificial death on the cross, descended into hell, and rose on the third day. His life fulfilled well over a hundred prophecies which proclaimed the coming Messiah hundreds of years before His birth. There’s evidence of His life outside of scripture, many written by secularist historians of the time.

And just as there were prophecies of His coming, there are many more about the age to come where Jesus will return for His bride (the church/believers). The world will descend into madness under God’s wrath and it is coming soon.

God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, and in his obedience, God preserved Isaac and provided the sacrifice.

In much the same way, God is calling all of us to make a sacrifice. He wants us to sacrifice the sinfulness we wrap ourselves in like blankets. He wants us to sacrifice the lives we’re leading right now. But in the same way God provided the sacrifice for Abraham, He did the same for me and you. Our sacrifice is a symbolic one. Our hearts and lives will be forever changed by being obedient to His call.

And when you look back, you’ll see that what you are set free from wasn’t worth the punishment it would have ultimately led to.

Accept the call and give all of yourself to Jesus. Be redeemed by the lamb of God. And let’s praise God for all of eternity for what He has done for us.