I gave up on religion years ago. I did in fact keep a hold onto Jesus, but I have a very strong resistance to control, force, heaviness of law and rules, and lacking freedom that is supposed to be what it’s all about (especially after having gone through such a season of uprooting control and pride in my own life). I simply realized that religion is just man’s creation to appease a conscience that they are too lazy to really do something about. I prefer authentic relationship with God, not some institutionalized form. If there is a true God, I want to know and feel Him for myself. I don’t need some platitudical system of structured, empty motions. That is a waste. And if I find a gathering of people who live and teach this way, I might find myself there fellowshipping with them.
I am a follower of Jesus, and I am not satisfied without having an authentic, genuine fellowship and experience with God. And I want to experience what the Bible says in my personal life, not just believe it. And I want to fall in love with Him, again and again, throughout my life. I want to know Him as He truly is, be pleasing to Him, and be completely His. So this has brought me to a place of seeking complete surrender to Him. I also recognize a calling on my life, and I want to pursue it.
As I come to places of deeper surrender to Him, selfishness and self-centered focus begins to fade, and I realize how, despite the compassion I may have for people in need to a degree, I do not really care enough without such selflessness to do something about it within my power. I realize more than ever how much time and energy I have spent thinking just about myself and my own wants and needs. So, in my times of surrender, I labor to give this selfishness to Him, and I find that it creates more room within my heart for compassionate, tireless service to those in need.
It is in this place I realize more than ever that one of the most vital parts of being a Christian or being part of a church is to meet the needs of the community. It is in this place that I am compelled to embrace those needs when I see them.
This is the process that God took me through before and as He began to open up to me the issue of human trafficking. [I do not really like this term. It is modern-day slavery, it is the hideous domination and control of a beautiful, precious woman or child.] I first heard of it ten years ago, and it burdened me deeply, but I was in no place to really give and serve at that time. And as far as I knew, it was only happening in other countries, and not so much in the US. Until 2010.
Ten years ago, I was a selfish Christian. People that knew me then would not necessarily agree, because they have always seen me as a caring man. But even a caring person can live a self-focused, narrow life. By 2010, God had been bringing me to places of such surrender that I was so much more available to serve and give. That’s when I heard about my church’s stance on this social justice issue, and heard through them of a local organization that combated trafficking. I was amazed that we even had the need of an organization to fight it locally. And I found out they needed a van driver for their outreach team. I jumped at the opportunity, and continued to learn, study, be trained, and dive into everything I could possibly ever since.
Overall, I believe that reaching out in the areas of trafficking should be a natural part of any church’s outreach, because it is a severe need of any community. But I also recognize that God has perhaps called me to even specialize in this area more than most others. I do have other areas of specialty or emphasis within that are deep passions: marriage and relationships, orphans, church leadership, governmental leadership, youth, and a couple others. But there is something about anti-trafficking efforts–and I have a passion for every single front thereof–coupled with marriage and relationships, that seems to be highlighted in the realm of my service and gravitation.
So, I will daily strip sin and righteousness, clutter and gifting, from myself, place them on their respective altars outside His courts, and simply approach Him, humbly, only me…and just for the sake of my heart fellowshipping with His. And from that place, wherein I seek to abide and not merely visit, I will to serve tirelessly, especially for my sisters and kids who need my voice, my hands, my heart for themselves. [I’m coming for you…by God’s grace, I’m coming…]