Mel Gibson, in the movie Braveheart, portrays the true story of the Scot revolutionary, William Wallace. The common folk were poor and routinely stripped of their lands and treated with contempt by their overlords. While the movie does not depict all that motivated this young man, he was surely impacted by two significant turning points: the death of his father in a scuffle with an Englishman, and the murder of his wife under the direction of the English sheriff. He took up the family motto: “"Pro libertate" - "For Freedom" and become both an avenger, hero, and martyr for the cause of seeing his people set free. Wallace’s life experiences and tragedies helped awaken him to the oppression and abuse as well as motivate him to say, “Enough!”
In the same way, all revolutions, resulting in greater freedom, are preceded by an awakening. People wake up to the stark reality that they are not living as they could. They have succumbed to various states of oppression or depression or subjugation, and they wake up to the harshness of their condition and say “Enough!”
Today, there is an awakening in the church taking place and a new cry for freedom. The liberating of the church is happening. It’s happening en masse. It’s happening not by someone’s design, but simply because person after person has experienced something that is causing them to more fully awaken to their condition and say ‘enough.’
People are awakening from a tyranny that I place under the overarching term: religion. Religion encompasses the dead spiritual systems that we substitute for life—life with Jesus. Religion goes far beyond the oppressiveness of just legalism though that’s an important aspect of it. It involves all of the forms of godliness—external and internal—that become substitutes and alternatives to real spiritual life and vitality. These ‘forms of godliness’ can include:
- The religious routines we follow that replace a vibrant, risk-taking life of following Jesus.
- The church systems we set up that sustain themselves with activities and programs which many use to replace real relationship with Jesus and with one another.
- The motivations we fall into that are about serving our own ego-identities rather than, truly, God’s Kingdom and purposes.
Freedom is the goal of all revolutions and this one is no different. God is awakening His people because He has destined us for freedom so that we, in turn, may bring freedom to a world that is deeply oppressed and in need of what Jesus’ life and only Jesus’ life can bring.
Let’s explore some of the many ways that God is freeing His people from religion and unleashing His bride to serve His glory, reflect His presence, and follow his purposes to bring about life in a decaying world… (More to Come).
NOTE: This is a stab at setting the stage for the first chapter of the "Irreligious Follower" book. I will share a bit at a time as I try to organize the flow of the book!