So many times through my life, I feel like I take a step forward -- and then two steps back. Maybe it's the devil working against me; maybe it's just a fact of life and the trials I have to face to grow in my faith and trust in the Lord. For the past couple of years, I've struggled through my church experience. Not my faith -- I know God is always there with me and I trust Him completely.
But I've struggled with some people's authenticity and sincerity. It's disheartened me to the idea of "organized religion." While I've always scoffed at people who wouldn't go to church because of hyprocracy, I now find myself questioning a set of rules and "religion" as opposed to "faith." Because they are two different things.
On my recent trip to Italy, we visited many beautiful churches (or cathedrals) -- and it seems that the Catholic church in particular was in completition to see who could build the biggest and most beautiful church. I've wondered, "Does God really care if His altar is really covered in gold when there are people starving in the world?"
The entire heirchy of the Catholic church is about power. The power of the Pope over the Christian world -- the power of individual Bishops and Cardinals -- the power of priests and confession -- people making rules for people they considered beneath them.
When all Jesus said was, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." It's that simple -- we confess our sins and ask the Lord into our hearts and follow Him.
I do understand the necessity of rules for an orderly life. Without some type of rules, the world would be chaos. But when we get so bogged down in rules that we miss the big picture, we're defeating the purpose.
How many times has government become a quagmire because of rules and no common sense -- countries fight each other -- good people are harrassed or denied needs while lazy people who know how to work the system take advantage? Lawyers get murderers off for technicalities.
And so I took two steps back tonight at church while we possibly have let the best person to lead and life up our church go. I have felt joy in my church and my faith again this past month as we have come together once more as one church -- traditional and contemporary working together rather than separate. I have felt the Spirit move in our church -- and especially in my heart. I've wanted to cry with joy -- and now I cry with sadness.
Tonight I was so inspired to have Josh lead our church and see how God is working in his life! I was so looking forward to voting Bro. Chris in as our pastor. But it all got bogged down in rules. And once again I feel disheartened and depressed -- and I feel the devil pulling at the church.
And why? Rules. Men's rules. Men's power. Not trusting God's leadership. I just feel sad. Again.