Today’s Pondering~Not what it looks like

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath.
~Luke 6:7 NIV~
I don’t get over here to write much these days.  I’ve been called to other things that have  required me to spend more time on the publishing side of my business and a little less on the writing.  I used to write routinely because I thought that staying “inside the lines” was vital to my success as a writer…and ultimately, as a human being.
I wanted to write something tonight, however; because I’ve been feeling somewhat pressed lately.  For years, I was heavily involved in ritual.  It suited my tendency toward OCD and was quite comforting for a time.  But it wasn’t doing anything for me in the sense that I was only allowing myself to grow within the confines of the box I had jumped into.  Once my ideas got too big or my goals became too different from the others who were in the box with me, I stepped back and essentially kept myself from doing what God was calling me to do.  He didn’t want me in the box.  He wanted me to get over myself and get out there and do something.  But I was so busy trying to fit into the mold of a “good” Christian that I forgot what the criteria for being a Christian actually was.
It wasn’t enough to get up and pray every morning.  It wasn’t enough to make sure that I prayed over every meal.  It wasn’t enough to attend church every Sunday.  It wasn’t enough to lead every Bible study that came down the pike.  It wasn’t enough to quote Scripture.  It wasn’t enough to know all of the buzz-words.  It wasn’t enough to sing all of the popular Christian songs.  It wasn’t enough to attend all of the Christian concerts or shop at all of the Christian stores.  It wasn’t enough because none of that made a difference to anyone but me.  None of that persona showed anyone Christ.  It only showed them me trying to fit into a mold that looks so little like Christ that even He wouldn’t recognize it.
So, I stopped.
Not believing in God or Jesus.  I stopped trying to be the cookie-cutter Christian that I saw so many others trying to be.  I stopped trying to live up to what the church was telling me a “good” Christian looked like.  I stopped trying to make myself look like something I simply couldn’t be.  And I realized that only then did I understand what it meant to have a heart like Christ’s.  Only then could I envision what kind of love it must have required  for Him to have died for me.  Only then did I truly get that we’ve been doing this all wrong.
The feelings that the herd mentality generates in us are not feelings of love and compassion.  They often make us feel as though we need to compete with one another to see who can do it better.  Loving Jesus is not difficult.  Trying to look like someone who loves Jesus is.  We have got to stop being so wrapped up in what it looks like that we forget to do what it takes.  So, instead of following the sheep, I started following the shepherd.  And there is so much more peace in my heart.  I pray that you, too, can break away from the herd and find your way down the path that God has set for you without allowing anyone but Him to define what constitutes a right step.  He knows your heart and if you let Him, He will fix what is broken and heal what is sick in you.  And the outside will reflect the peace you receive from His love and grace.

Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?

~Luke 11:39-40 NIV~