What does it mean to follow Jesus?
This is a serious question that I am asking myself. Not because I think it a worthless thing to do, but rather because I really want to follow Jesus. I don't want to follow any man. I don't want to follow the church. I want to follow Jesus.
A major error in Christianity is that people are led to believe that to be a good Christian they must be actively involved in a church. But at subtle levels Jesus is pushed out of the church. Churches and people in them are so caught up with their programs, with convincing people to attend them, run them, financially support them, that they don't have any time left to actually follow Jesus.
I have long known the institutional church to be diseased with this structure of man, preventing the average person from fulfilling their priesthood in Christ. To be a follower of Christ means to also be a priest of Christ. As Jesus is the high priest, all of his followers must also be priests. If I can not be a priest of Christ, then how can I be a follower of Christ?
I desire to be a follower of Christ, therefore I desire to be a priest. To do this, I must be allowed to minister in the priesthood of all believers. Sadly the institutional church does not allow me to do this, and in the process prevents me from properly following Jesus.
I have decided to take a season to detox from the institutional church. I still very much love my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am not forsaking them. But I do desire that we can all minister to one another as our High Priest calls us to do.
In my season of detox so far, some lessons have gradually been coming to me. One was that I realised that in my time in the institutional church I had very few friends who were not believers. I had some, but very few. I was also quite bad at being friends with these people. I subconsciously expected them to conform to the sub culture of which I was a part. The sub culture judges people who are different. I now have more non Christian friends than at any time in my life. But something is different. I am sharing the gospel on some level with all of them. In the past I almost kept it a secret from people that I was a Christian. I think one of the reasons for this is that I am not afraid of having to bring these people to church. I can simply introduce these people to Jesus and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
Part of the toxins that I have swallowed is that I have believed that by practice that I need to attend a ritual temple ceremony (the Sunday morning service) to follow Jesus. In fact, religious Christianity places a very high emphasis on this "sacrament". This has been such a central part of my belief that it is hard for me to imagine that I even can follow Jesus when not attending the temple ceremony. Of course this is a thousand times ridiculous. If I can not follow Jesus outside of the temple ceremony, what good is such a ceremony? My life must be made up of 24/7 passion and commitment to my suffering King.
So I think I am in another stage of my detox now. I am allowed to follow Jesus outside of the temple. I am allowed to Love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. I am allowed to love my neighbour. I am allowed to exhibit the fruits of the spirit. Most of all, I don't need the endorsement of the temple religion to do so. I only need the endorsement of the King and High Priest.
I am free. But clearing toxins out is a distasteful experience none the less.