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Jan 21, 2020 08:00am
Something Missing in Your Life? Don’t Start With Religion.
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Perhaps one of the biggest frustrations in life is not knowing where to start. It is a common problem for most of us at one time or another. Right now, my garage needs some major attention, but it is in such a mess that I don’t know where to start. 

So, I put it off a while longer.

The probability of success in any area of life often is dictated by knowing where to start. Many times, we fail to make forward progress toward the things we desire for our lives simply because we don’t know where to start. 

So we just put them off all together. Meanwhile, the clock of our life is ticking.

The scenario can play out in any area of our life: 

Financial security is forfeited because we don’t know how to start a financial plan. 

Fit and healthy lifestyles fail to take hold because we don’t know where to start. 

Relationships that we desire don’t get off the ground or don’t get repaired because we don’t know where to start. The list goes on and on.

Even our spiritual well-being is subject to the devastation caused by not knowing where to start. Untold multitudes feel that something is missing in their lives, but they don’t know where to start to find that missing ingredient. Religion seems so complicated, confusing, and contradictory, so where do we start? 

First of all, religion IS complicated, confusing, and contradictory, so don’t start there!

SO, WHERE DO WE START?

We start at the beginning!

Ok – where is the beginning?

According to Jesus, he is and has the credentials to convince me. In fact, Jesus claims to be the beginning and the end . . . but first things first.

Unfortunately, sometimes we even muddle up the simple message of Jesus and make it difficult to know where to start with him. We must be careful not to get so overwhelmed by Christian “stuff” that we miss Christ himself:

  1. Don’t start with Christian practices. Start with Christ and let your practices flow from there.
  2. Be aware that it is entirely possible to believe in Christian values and still not personally believe in Christ. Christian values are of great benefit and importance, but they are not a substitute for Christ himself. Start with Christ and let your values flow from there.
  3. Outward expressions of faith are not a substitute for the inner transformation that only Christ can offer. Start with Christ and let your expressions of faith flow from there.
  4. There is a big difference in being “Christianized” and having a genuine relationship with Christ. Many follow the general beliefs of Christianity; fewer have a personal relationship with Jesus. Start with Christ and let your beliefs flow from there.
  5. There is a huge difference in knowing about Christ and knowing Christ. Start with Christ and let your knowledge flow from there.
  6. Unfortunately in recent years, the label “Christian” has sometimes become more of a political label than a label of personal faith and transformation. It is very important for Christians to be involved in and impact our political process, but political influence should flow from our relationship with Christ himself. Christian political beliefs do not give us genuine identification with God – only Jesus can do that. Start with Christ and let your political views flow from there.
  7. In the same light, Christian values have sometimes become more a part of our cultural identification than our true identification with Christ. As an example, millions of people celebrate Christmas – there are few that truly celebrated Christ. Start with Christ and let your identity flow from there.

WHAT NOW?

If you’ve stayed with me so far, you get it that I pretty much believe everything should start with Christ and flow from there. Maybe you already believe all that and are batting a thousand. Or maybe you recognize a place or two where you have gotten “the cart before the horse”. No better time than right now to make an adjustment.

Or maybe you recognize that you have never really gotten a start with Christ. Maybe you have carried the title of Christian but haven’t experienced a genuine personal relationship with Jesus. Maybe you have tried to live the values but never really got around to truly meeting Christ. Maybe you still don’t know where to start.

 If so, there’s a little secret that I will share:

There are people who know where and how to help you start your movement toward Christ, and they are willing and able to help you. In fact, that is exactly why Jesus established the church. Take advantage of that offer. It would be a real tragedy to miss the benefits of Christ just because you don’t know where to start!

Now if I just knew where to start on that garage!

Copyright © 2020 by John Chapman. Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.