Dear Church: I Left And I’m Not Going Back

I left because I started to ask, “why do we do what we do?” “What does Scripture say?” Finding the answer to those questions is what led me here.​

Christians don’t know what to do with those who leave the church.

I’ve seen a few typical responses. These are either reactions to or explanations for people leaving. These responses indicate something about the foundation and dynamics operating in the Christian Church.

These will be in no particular order.

  • Indignant. Some are incredibly angry that a person would not agree and align with their idea of the importance of church or traditional Christian ideals.

This indicates there is a foundation of control upon which Christianity is built or the conduit through which it is practiced.

  • Control. Some are frustrated that this person is no longer able to be controlled.

This points to how powerless people in religion feel and their need to cover or compensate for this powerlessness. This is evidenced in various doctrines and traditions.

  • Fear. Some are afraid that you’ll be lost or “the devil’s going to get you.”

This shows how many have been shamed and scared into life with YAH.

  • That’s none of my business. Some don’t feel they are mature enough to relate and converse with someone who may be grappling with their faith and religion. So, they avoid it altogether.

This points to the social system embedded in the Christian church and how people see their roles therein.

  • Longing. In a phrase, “I wish I could do that. I wish I was strong enough to do that.”

This points to the exhaustion of people in religion. Many are tired as they run on the hamster wheel of religion, but it keeps you codependent upon its system. So, you can’t really leave (you can, but you feel like you can’t).

  • Devalue. This is the belief that you are of no value or importance if you are not a part of this belief system anymore.

This points to the incomplete system of validation the Church has set up. People look to pastors, church community, no other Christians to validate themselves. Anyone who does not adhere to this value system immediately and innately loses their value.

Your response to this shouldn’t be to cover up or justify how you or your church normally responds. My encouragement to you if you’ve read this through, is ask. Figure out why people are leaving the Church and Christianity as a whole. Don’t make assumptions.

I left because I started to ask, “why do we do what we do?” “What does Scripture say?” Finding the answer to those questions is what led me here.

People are leaving a system they once felt so strongly about. I felt I had to defend this faith. I felt a responsibility and a weight that many feel today.

I’ve been hesitant at times to share more about my beliefs before I left because people use that to explain away why I left. They’ll say, “You just weren’t doing it right. You just weren’t serious. I’ve always been certain about _. I’ve always known that! You were just at the wrong church. Not all churches are the same.”

I’ve reached a place now where I’m okay with the conclusions people will draw. I think one of two could happen if people started being curious when people leave.

One. They will start to look at what the Church has been doing for so long and make radical changes.

Two. Others will start to leave — much like an exodus.

This is what I think some pastors or Christians are fearful of. They’re afraid to look within. They’re afraid to question and challenge. What if I find out something I don’t like? What if everything I’ve built my doctrine on falls apart? Where would I go? What would I do?

It’s okay to not have the answers to those questions. So, if you do find yourself in that place, feel free to reach out to me!

He is good.
Everything will be okay!

Parables And The Torah, Pt. 2

The New Testament isn’t saying anything new. It is echoing Torah. Messiah is echoing and declaring Torah!

In the average Christian church, there is a discounting of the relevance and potency of the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament) and the Writings due to misinterpretations of Scripture.

Statements like, “That’s the old stuff–we don’t need that anymore,” “We’re under a new covenant,” and “We’re not under the law, we’re under grace,” get us in a lot of trouble. 

Many who would profess to be followers of Yeshua (Aramaic name of the Messiah), deny the very doctrine and source from which He taught–the Torah. They use many of the excuses listed above to validate their living out of just a few books in the Bible.

I am convinced that our lives will be much more enriched when we seek to understand Scripture within its complete context.

Refusing to critically and objectively study what some call the Old and the New Testament IN CONTEXT leaves many of us hungry for truth. To apply Scripture out of its context is to starve yourself; for it cannot produce real fruit.

To apply principles of Scriptures contextually, we will have to unlearn much of what we’ve learned.

If you don’t remember anything else I say, remember this: the “New” Testament is commentary on the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings. That means its foundation is the Torah. They derive their thinking and understanding of Scripture from Torah. So, we must know Torah to properly interpret and apply what we read. Additionally, this means these commentaries will not deviate or disagree with the Torah.

The first couple hundred years after Messiah ascended, they did not have what we have compiled today. So, they were teaching from the: you guessed it–Torah, Prophets, and the Writings.

I know. Many believe they were reading out of pocket New Testaments and following along as these events took place; but, that’s just not what happened.

Heck, it’s unlikely the writers of the New Testament would’ve thought what they were writing would be considered Scripture.

So, when Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16 saying, “All Scripture is breathed out by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work;” the Scripture he is referring to is the Scripture they already knew: the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings. 

Most of the time when Christians hear Torah, their mind goes to the “law that Jesus fulfilled so that we don’t have to do it.” There are many things wrong with that perspective. However, we have to start somewhere.

First, it does not mean “law.” That is a common application of it; but, it’s not the most accurate. Many translate Torah as “law.” However, it is best translated as instruction, teaching, doctrine.

Simply, the Torah is YAH teaching us how to live life. It’s His instructions, descriptions, and definitions for life. It is the WORD (Ps. 19:7; Ps. 119:142; 1 Tim. 1:8, Rom. 3:31) and Messiah is the WORD made flesh (John 1:1-14).

In Matthew 22:36-37, 39-40, Messiah has an exchange that helps sum up the Torah.

Teacher, which is the great command in the Torah? And יהושע said to him, ” ‘You shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commands hang all the Torah and the Prophets.”

When Messiah said, “The Law and the Prophets hang on these two commands,” he is saying every Word given in the Torah falls within those two categories. Every Word or principle given to Israel instructed them in how to love YAH and love people (including themselves). Also, it is a way of saying, this is the foundation for all instruction.

Recently, I was reading Paul’s letters and enjoying an enriching time in the Scripture when I came across a verse that is a prime example of this.

Colossians 3:5 reads, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: whoring, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and greed of gain, which is idolatry.”

When examined in the Greek (the original language of the book of Colossians), these words sum up the instruction of Torah. We’ll explore idolatry, uncleanness, passion, and greed.

Idolatry

The word idolatry or immorality refers to a selling off of ourselves for the purpose of sin (failure). It has a connotation of adultery. It is to cheapen what is valuable. It is to give over to someone what already belonged to another. 

Torah is riddled with instructions against idolatry. Idolatry gives honor to the created rather than the Creator. Additionally, idolatry is a fruit of something. Idolatry is possible when the true value of YAH is not known or is incomplete. 

“You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth..”

Shemoth (Exodus) 20:4 TS2009

Uncleanness

The word for uncleanness or impurity paints a picture of mixing. Torah goes into depth always about the issue with mixing.

“‘Guard My laws. Do not let your livestock mate with another kind. Do not sow your field with mixed seed. And do not put a garment woven of two sorts of thread upon you.”

Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 19:19 TS2009

“They did not destroy the peoples, As יהוה had commanded them, But mixed with the nations, And learned their works, And served their idols, And they became a snare to them.

Tehillim (Psalms) 106:34‭-‬36 TS2009

The issue with mixing is expounded upon in the book of 1 John. John goes into depth about YAH being light. In Him is no darkness. YAH is not mixed — neither should we be. He is whole and complete — lacking nothing.

Passion

The word passion refers to an inordinate desire. A desire that is misplaced or out of order–which indicates something was not covered properly. Usually, when we think about passion/lust, the weight or responsibility lies on the person dealing with it. This is not how things work. Lust/passion is a fruit of something. It is an inordinate desire that comes when one lacks the proper perspective of your value.

The father is the one YAH gives responsibility to to provide identity and value. If a father does not cover properly, this lack will create an inordinate desire that shows up as lust. This could have been prevented if the father had covered properly. Torah is thorough in showing how to cover the vulnerable and the importance thereof. 

Greed

The word greed or covetousness means advantage and aggression. This is a contrary idea to what is taught in Torah. Many have often wondered why did YAH always instruct the people of Israel to get only what they needed. He’d find fault if they took more than they needed.

  1. This was a sign of someone who had not had Sabbath perfected in them. In other words, if they took more than they needed, this was a sign of someone who did not trust YAH. They were not yet able to rest in His provision and decided to provide for themselves.

When Sabbath is perfected in someone, they do not seek to provide for themselves. They see YAH as provider and what they have for others. YAH covers me and I don’t have to look out for myself. They trust. They do not strive. Providing for yourself is strife.

  1. Getting more than you needed meant someone else would go without. They’re always collateral damage when we do not trust YAH to provide.

The Torah is all about how to care for others and trusting YAH to care for you.

The purpose for this post is to draw attention to the connection New Testament Scriptures have with the Torah. The New Testament isn’t saying anything new. It is echoing Torah. Messiah is echoing and declaring Torah!

All of the words and right-rulings of YAH are to reveal (cultivate) two things in us: love for YAH and for people. The Torah makes provisions for the citizen and for the stranger, for the vulnerable, for the weak. 

If we live a life that is me-centered, we are not living Torah.

Learning Torah will change your life!

Torah is for today — and not in a vague “good for reference” kind of way. Instead, it is for today — actively, intensively, transforming its students.

“The Torah of יהוה is perfect, bringing back the being; The witness of יהוה is trustworthy, making wise the simple;”

Tehillim (Psalms) 19:7 TS2009

Stay tuned for more posts on Torah!

Parables and the Torah, An Introduction

Many of us have become those with no ear to hear. The Church (or those who so claim) is sick because she is disconnected from the Way (Torah) that the Way (Yeshua) taught of.

Have you heard the account of Joseph? In case you haven’t: Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers after he’d revealed he’d had a dreamed that he would one day rule over them. This account can be found in the book of Bereshit (Genesis) chapters 37-50. This is a very popular account taught on a many of occasions. It provides encouragement as ministers extract principles and lessons from Joseph’s experience. “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” “Your setback may be a setup for victory!” “What the devil meant for evil, God means for your good.” “He makes all things work together!” The list goes on.

Another perspective people tend to take when reading Joseph’s story is a very “me-centered” perspective. “Sometimes, you can’t tell everybody your dreams.” “Some of y’all got some haters acting like they’re your friend.” The emphasis quickly becomes Joseph or ‘us’ reading the story. Every other person becomes an extra in the story of Joseph. If we read Scripture this way, we will always walk away with a partial understanding or none at all.

Joseph’s story has little to do with dreams or personal victories. Joseph, like others read about in the Bible, is a small piece in the major scope of Scripture. No one’s story is ever just about them. To some extent, I think we know that — in a very general sense. However, I don’t think we know that within its proper context.

If we continue reading Joseph’s story, we find that his experiences positioned him to help all of Israel. Additionally, he was able to reconcile and be one with his brothers again (which nullifies the me-centered, hater sort of perspective). See, every account, parable, and ‘character’ will always relate back to the grand picture of YAH’s relationship with Israel.

We have to begin reading all of Scripture in this light. Let me demonstrate the importance of this.

Preachers know that Yeshua (name Aramaic and Hebrew people called the Messiah) used parables to deliver deeper truths to the people listening and will use this approach to illustrate ideas they’ve extracted from a text.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with using illustrations to help people understand the deeper truths.

However, it quickly becomes an issue when the message, Scripture, and illustrations are filtered through our culture that is already counter-Scripture. I came across a post on Facebook once that shows the juxtaposition of Hebrew thought and Western (Greco-Roman) thought. Here are a few examples:

  • Man-centered universe (W) vs. God/tribe/family-centered universe (H)
  • Freedom orientation (W) vs. Security orientation (H)
  • Life analyzed in precise categories (W) vs. Everything blurs into everything else (H)
  • Rugged Individualism (W) vs. Importance of being part of group (H)
  • Worth of person based on money/material possessions/power (W) vs. Worth derived from family relationships (H)

My desire in writing these blogs about the Torah is to strike curiosity in your mind about Scripture. This is enough to bring someone closer to truth. I walked very devotedly in Christianity for 20+ years of my life. So, I know the ins and outs of the objections of some of the things I may present via my blog. This is to say, I understand. My blogs are never to shame readers who may still consider themselves Christians. Instead, it is to challenge your perspective and encourage you toward deeper truths. For something is only as strong as it is challenged.

Some will say knowing the culture of the Hebrew people is unnecessary. “We’re not meant to be Jews.”

First, we need a better understanding of the concept of culture, especially as it relates to Scripture. Mostly, we understand culture to be the traditions, foods, music, holidays a group of people hold to. While we can certainly identify those things in Hebrew culture, what we observe of Israel and their interaction with YAH recorded in Scripture is not simply “their culture” — especially not in the same way we understand culture today.

So, what’s the difference?

The Torah (first five books of the Bible) contains a way of life. Even more — it is THE WAY of life. It is literally how life/nature operates. It reveals the character and nature of YAH. Hebrew culture is built on, recorded, and encompassed in the Torah.

When Yeshua said, “I am THE WAY, the Truth, and the Life,” He was making Himself equivalent to the Torah. He was saying I am the Torah — the written ideas of YAH — made flesh

“Aleph Blessed are the perfect in the way, Who walk in the Torah of יהוה (Ps. 119:1)!”

“Your righteousness is righteousness forever, and Your Torah is truth (Ps. 119:142).”

“For the command is a lamp, and the Torah a light, and reproofs of discipline a way of life (Prov. 6:23).”

Many of us have heard the verse, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).” Many of us have been taught the Bible is the Word of God. But, Scripture says that Yeshua is the Word. But, what is the Word?

In the Greek, the word for ‘Word’ is logos. Logos means ‘divine utterance’ or ‘expressed idea.’

We’ve been taught it means Yeshua is the ‘’expressed idea God had.’’ This is true, but incomplete. What is Yeshua the expressed idea of? What idea did God have? The Torah! So, to understand Him apart from the Torah, within the context of our culture, is to barely understand Him at all.

So, how can we expect to understand what He taught if we are unwilling to study the very ideas from which He taught? 

Second, the culture we are engulfed in today is a syncretism of various ideologies that make YAH pluralistic, dualistic, and watered down. A lot of the traditions — if not most — observed in Christianity are due to a mixing. They have been observed due to many concessions and manipulations made by the early church (when it linked with Rome’s government) in order to “tame” the pagans of their time. (Read more about it here: http://hoshanarabbah.org/blog/2014/05/21/how-the-church-divorced-itself/). So, the very theology many of us defend was not originally ours to begin with.

The messages many of us extract from Scripture is counter-Torah or are incomplete applications of Scripture.

When Yeshua told parables, they were always directly related to the Torah. It created a picture that derived from the foundation. If those that heard were not truly connected to the foundation, the root, then “they did not have ears to hear.”

Many of us have become those with no ear to hear. This is not really our fault. We’ve passed down information gained by those with a genuine desire to know YAH and commune with Him. Regardless, the problem in Christianity is we’ve assumed there is little relevance to what Yeshua taught (Torah) because “it was just their culture.” Nah. It wasn’t just culture as we understand it — it was the way of life! Their whole culture is built on the Torah. The Torah is the foundation of Hebrew thought.

Problematically, the Church has divorced itself from anything Hebrew and has lost proper interpretation and foundation of Scripture. How do you know?

  • Unless we learn the Torah, we will read the account of the woman caught in adultery and think its central message was about not judging or the grace of God. 
  • Unless you learn Torah, you will read about the Pharisees and think that Messiah’s opposition to them was because He was doing away with “the Law.” 
  • Unless we learn Torah, we will read Joseph’s ascent into governmental authority and think the story is about accomplishing your dreams.
  • Unless you learn Torah, you will continue to think that Messiah did away with the Torah rather than the law. (There is a distinction; ‘under the law’ doesn’t mean what you may think it means).

It is time for us to truly understand and apply Scripture. 

Many have found themselves drawn to study the whole Bible without knowing why. Many have felt the need to start over. There is a reason for this. YAH is providing foundation for His people. YAH is providing healing for His people. Healing will come from a proper application of Torah. Guaranteed. 

The Church (or those who so claim) is sick because she is disconnected from the Way (Torah) that the Way (Yeshua) taught of. As long as we keep applying society’s idea of religion to our lives and study of Scripture, we will never walk in the fullness of intimate communion with Him.

That is all.

Be sensible. Be fools.

Over and out.

You Can’t Escape It!

Worship is life. Worship is behavior. Worship is action. Worship has nothing to do with sound, music, and is not a specific religious discipline. Your entire life is worship! The system of life is worship. You can’t escape it!

The world is changing, so people say. I don’t think that it is. Life has a cyclical nature. I.e. history repeats itself. People are no more evil or good today than any other time. I used to think we were better off now. I see advantages and disadvantages for any moment in time. So, while we’ve seen development, increase in access, extensive knowledge, different uses of resources, the nature of man has not changed. Thankfully, the nature of YAH hasn’t either.

I used to have a particular childlike reverence for Christianity and maybe it was never that. I believed we were the only ones who knew truth and had access to it.

Due to misinterpretations, mistranslations, political interference, and other forces, truth has been distorted into Christianity as we know it today. Let me be crystal clear: Christianity was never a good thing at any point in history. I mention this because the argument I hear to refute criticism of the Church or Christianity is usually something along the lines of, “That’s just modern Christianity. Ancient Christianity wasn’t like this! This is just post-modernism. We need to return to the work of the first-century church!”

(Disclaimer: Granted, by saying Christianity has never been a good thing, I am not criticizing directly the people).

Many desire for the church to go back to what the first-century church was doing — the New Testament Christianity. However, “New Testament Christianity” wasn’t really Christianity at all. It didn’t look the way we think it did. In fact, it looked like what Hebrews were already doing in the “old testament.” The root was different. The fruit was different.

We’ve bought into this idea that what (we think) is old and outdated (Torah) is done away with and it has cost us greatly!

Firstly, the Torah is not old or outdated; instead, it is everlasting. If you were to reflect on the love of God, would you describe it as old or outdated simply because you’ve known of its existence in ancient times? No. We understand the love of God is so intimately Him and is everlasting–meaning: it was, is, and will be.

The Torah is the same.

The Torah was, is, and will be. As a Christian, I imagine this thought would sound terrifyingly heretical. It would sound as if I’m saying we should worship the Torah. And yes, we should; but, not as we currently understand worship.

Worship is life. Worship is behavior. Worship is action. Worship has nothing to do with sound, music, and is not a specific religious discipline. Your entire life is worship! The system of life is worship. You can’t escape it!

Given that humans are behavioral (in that they behave from the belief systems they’ve learned), your behavior, conscious and subconscious, indicates your belief system. This belief system could be control, manipulation, rest, etc. Regardless, you will always behave in accordance with your belief system whether it is healthy or not. Behavior indicates foundation. Foundation is where our loyalty, commitment, and duty lies. We are loyal and committed to it until and unless that foundation is challenged.

So, when I mention that we ought to worship Torah, I mean it must be our foundation. We must live it. We cannot live it if we have not challenged our current foundation or system. As long as our foundation is allowed to stay in place, we will always behave from that place.

John 1:1-14 describes the intimate relationship between YAH and the Torah. It begins, “In the beginning was the Word…” The Torah is the Word and the Word is YAH. YAH has revealed Himself in His Torah.

This may be a hard pill to swallow. I imagine upon accepting or at least exploring this at truth, some of us would become particularly religious and committed to reading this text. And we ought to read it! However, Torah extends far beyond the text itself.

Torah is life. Life is Torah. It is the parameters within which we experience life. This is to say, whether or not you believe Torah, life is happening around in accordance to it. That sounds a bit grand, I’m sure! But, it’s true!

As we live, we have the choice to go with the grain of Torah or work against it. This may be the operation of free will. Many of the institutions, systems, and ideals permeating in society operate from a foundation that goes against the grain.

Participants in these systems bear weight, incessantly attempt to validate themselves, are independent, unwilling/unable to be vulnerable, and do not trust. This is the cost of doing away with Torah.

The Church was built on a culture that goes against the grain of the flow of YAH, of life — of the Torah. Its culture is labor. When we invest our resources (energy, intellectualism, finances, etc.) into validating ourselves to others, we are laboring.

What is the benefit of learning Torah?

The Torah teaches rest. The Torah speaks heavily about Sabbath. Christians don’t often know what to do with that. If I were to suggest that we should keep Sabbath, the response from many would be, “Jesus is my Sabbath.” Most times, they don’t really know what that means. These are just pre-recorded responses for anything that hasn’t been searched out.

I do believe we ought to keep Sabbath, but my understanding of Sabbath is deepening. Sabbath is more than a day. Sabbath is a constant. It is a cycle by which we experience healing and can determine where we are truly resting. Rest signifies confidence. Rest signifies trust. When I learn to rest, it means I am confident in YAH, have trust with others, and am confident in myself. Rest signifies understanding your place in the world and seeing YAH for who He is — the Provider/Source.

The Torah teaches vulnerability. The culture of religion leaves no room for real vulnerability. The culture of religion fosters a need to cover deficiencies, immaturity, or lack of knowledge. We have this idea that we need to be at a certain place by now and this “certain place” is often manufactured by people. This creates an unsafe space to be exactly where you are and identifying exactly where you are is the starting point for healing. Because the Torah offers a different perspective on sin, life, God, family, prayer, baptism, etc. than those pervading Christian circles, those that know it learn to live lives of vulnerability before YAH. They understand the way YAH sees them and there is no fear in approaching Him. So, doing away with the Torah (though it can never be done away with) keeps vulnerability away. As long as we stay unsure about how God sees us, we’ll never come boldly to the throne.

The Torah teaches trust. An underlying precept in what the Torah reveals is that nothing exists in isolation of anything else. Everything is connected. Nothing can provide for itself. To allow myself to be provided for, I must trust. To continue the cycle of healing, I must trust. For the family to be whole, I must trust. Trust is a beautiful picture that is displayed in all things. We often talk about trust in two main areas: romantic relationships and spiritual matters. It’s so much deeper than that. Trust is the foundation of the worlds. This is why it is imperative that we learn trust. When we learn trust, we operate with YAH and not against Him. It breeds rest. It elevates us to peace!

The Torah teaches YAH. Have you ever said these words: “I just want to know You” or “I just want to be like You”? The Torah is the answer for that! You see, YAH is light. Light is a picture of knowledge. Knowledge is light. Light is standard. YAH is standard. YAH is truth. To obtain knowledge is to obtain YAH — to know Him, to know truth, to know peace. That’s all knowledge is. It’s Him. How can you know Him if you do not know His Torah? His Torah reveals His heart, His ideas, His nature.

The Torah is the answer for all calamity in the world. The very topics that Christians debate about, doctrinal differences, sin’s rampant run in society, etc. can all be healed through Torah. But, we have to be willing to challenge the things we say we believe. Whether we submit to it or not, the Torah is happening around us every day. You can’t escape it! It’s happening in our lives, daily, weekly, yearly. Will you wake up and know it? Will you perceive it?

Who Is God?

Most of the time, figuring God out looks like describing Him. “He’s the God who heals.” Good is an understatement about who He is. Evil is a falsehood about who He is. So, who or what is He by definition?

There is perhaps no other verse quite as significant as the one that records the conversation between Mosheh (Moses) and YAH (God).

“And Elohim said to Mosheh, “I am that which I am.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ (Exodus 3:14 TS2009)

At first glance, I’ve always found this declaration significant. But, my perception paled in comparison to the depth of significance of such a statement — of such a reality! It would be difficult to understand the magnitude of this declaration if I simply read it within the context of this one story. As I read and live Torah, the significance of this statement takes shape.

Any being that would introduce themselves this way would spark great curiosity. I’ve always believed we should always be curious about YAH. If we can completely figure God out, or think we can, it’s probably that we never had Him figured out in the first place. Most of the time, figuring God out looks like describing Him. “He’s the God who heals.” “He’s the God that sees.” But, we rarely ever truly define Him. There is a difference between description and definition. (But that’s a blog for another day). Who or what is He by definition?

  1. God is not A being. He IS being.

We often say, “God is the most powerful being.” This is faulty. To put Him in a realm with other beings is to say he can be matched. It is to say there are others like Him or there are others other than Him. “I am יהוה, and there is none else – there is no Elohim besides Me.” (Isaiah 45:5). This sounds good; but, what does it really mean? It does not mean there is a being that is beneath Him or He is greater. It means, He is all there is. If He were a being, then He would derive His identity and being from another. He would exist through emulation or comparison. But, because He is being (existence itself), He is complete within Himself and does not need to inquire to gain insight as to who He is.

2. God is omnipotent.

He does not go to another to tell Him who He is or what He can or cannot do. For there is no other to go to. This speaks to the power He has. A lot of us would love to not have to answer to anyone. But, “with great power, comes great responsibility (shout out to Stan Lee).” He does not have to request permission to be or to create. Wow! He can create? Cool! This makes God sound like He has superpowers. Let’s take a closer look. It is not to say that He has ‘more powers’ than another. It is to say, He literally has all of it. He is the only one with it. Whatever is ever given power or life must be sustained through Him. Nothing can exist on its own. He is never caught in the act of existing, He is existence. In this way, He is omnipotent.

3. We have existence. God does not.

God is not given existence. Who would give it to Him? What can He interact with outside of Himself to authorize Him to exist? He is existence. “I AM THAT I AM”: I was being. I am being. I will always be. He gives us existence for as long as He desires — even what/who may dare to oppose Him must be given existence from and through Him.

4. God is omnipresent.

All things don’t merely exist because he gives existence externally. An image comes to mind of humans being handed rations of existence. It is to say humans can go away from Him and handle their existence as they will. This is inaccurate. Nothing exists outside of Him and never leaves His presence. The psalmist David speaks to this truth. 7 Where would I go from Your Spirit? Or where would I flee from Your face? 8 If I go up into the heavens, You are there; If I make my bed in She’ol, see, You are there. 9 I take the wings of the morning, I dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 There, too, Your hand would lead me, And Your right hand hold me. 11 If I say, “Darkness shall cover me,” Then night would be light to me; 12 Even darkness is not dark for You, But night shines as the day – As is darkness, so is light (Psalm 139:7-12).

I used to think this set of verses was pointing to the compassion of God. Sure. That may be true; but, it is incomplete. David, having been raised knowing the Torah, understood this complex truth.

All things exist within Him. The universe is in Him. We are in Him (John 1). In this way, He is omnipresent. There is no space in the universe where the presence of God does not exist. For all things have their existence through (INSIDE) Him. “In Him, we live move and have our being.” If we can grasp this truth, it will be revolutionary.

5. God is truth.

He is not truth because there is right or wrong. There is simply Him. He is the basis for reality — therefore, what is truth. He is the context within which all things exist. His essence provides the principles by which this life/reality is governed.

6. He is knowledge Himself.

God does not learn. What is there that He does not know? He is complete within Himself and can do what He wills. What can He teach Himself? In this way, He is omniscient. He knows all, because He is all. We acquire knowledge by going through the process of challenging what is about us and come to the conclusion of truth — Him. When we acquire knowledge, we acquire Him. When we acquire knowledge, we learn to exist as He does — complete, lacking nothing. Ponder these verses:

The fear of יהוה is the beginning of knowledge;”

(Proverbs 1:7 TS2009)


“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

Colossians 1:9

“In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Colossians 2:3

7. He is one.

“Hear, O Yisra’ĕl: יהוה our Elohim, יהוה is one” (Deut. 6:4 TS2009)!

Much of the perspectives that pervade society align with the idea of a dualistic world. One dualistic perspective indicates there are two (potentially equal) forces in the world that exists in every being — good and evil. Sometimes, unknowingly, we subscribe to this belief that God is dualistic. It is problematic to apply this filter to Him.

God does not consist of parts or contradicting forces. He is not confused, wrestling with whether or not He’ll be evil or good today. He is who He is. “I AM that I AM.” He is existence itself. Good is an understatement about who He is. Evil is a falsehood about who He is. He does not need to subscribe to our small ideas about what it means to be good. Truthfully, the reason he is good is because we know exactly what we can expect of Him — to be one. He is one. He is whole and complete. I can always examine the work of His hand and it will produce and reveal oneness.

“And Elohim said to Mosheh, “I am that which I am.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ (Exodus 3:14 TS2009)

YAH sent Mosheh to tell His people that I AM is with you. In other words, “Existence itself has come to rescue you.” Taking into account everything written in this blog, this is to say that YAH has decided to give existence to the people of Israel and therefore, absolutely nothing can oppose them! YAH would have to give existence to the opposition in order for it to prosper.

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall prove wrong. This is the inheritance of the servants of יהוה, and their righteousness from Me,” declares יהוה.

Yeshayah (Isaiah) 54:17 TS 2009

“Who can stand against?” “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.” These commonly known verses speak to this truth and how Hebrews understand the power of YAH.

YAH is power. He is not merely powerful. He is power. So, you can trust that the force at work in your life is Him and you can trust Him.

“For thus said יהוה, ‘When seventy years are completed, at Baḇel I shall visit you and establish My good word toward you, to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I am planning for you,’ declares יהוה, ‘plans of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and an expectancy” (Jeremiah 29:10-11).

The Church: We Got It All Wrong

Much of the traditions a church practices are someone’s idea of what metric is appropriate to measure progression or right and wrong. People often ask, “Why is the Church so divided?” We don’t know the real metrics. We don’t know the standard.

“This will be quick,” is what I tell myself every time I begin writing a blog. I’m wrong a lot of the time. But, we’ll see.

So! I just had the most enlightening and encouraging conversation with my sister and so many things were brought out that I’m sure I’ll be meditating on for some time. I’d like to share one of them to challenge our perspective and encourage us on our journey.

The two major questions posed by my sister and I were:

  1. What is sin?
  2. What if it’s (life) not about maturity, but about humility?

Today, I’ll focus on the second one.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed a change or shift in perspective– especially in the last two years. Almost two years ago, I left the church and Christianity behind with no idea as to where I was going. What I’ve experienced in my time since leaving has been monumental and incredibly life changing.

As a Christian, unknowingly, I would create big and tiny metrics by which to measure my success or failure at living right or pleasing God. This process is something I see Christians do all the time. It is the general foundation for religion in general. Honestly, I’m still in the process of unlearning and challenging these metrics because there are moments they still have authority or influence in my life.

Much of the traditions a church practices are someone’s idea of what metric is appropriate to measure progression or right and wrong. Some churches emphasize baptism, how you dress, operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, consistency in disciplines like praying, fasting, reading the Bible, outreach, or going to church. Most, if not all, emphasize the appearance of a thing and make inferences about what that indicates about your spiritual maturity (i.e. purity culture, your excitement for the “things of God” vs. the “things of man,” your profession, etc.).

It gets even more convoluted when you observe what metrics each individual has set up. “Did I curse today?” “Ooh. I’ve been tithing regularly!” “I’ve been serving diligently at church.” “I haven’t listened to any secular music in a while!”

People often ask, “Why is the Church so divided?” The picture I’ve just painted is precisely why. We don’t know the real metrics. We don’t know the standard.

Another way to say this is: we have no root. Because we have no root, we have to make up (manufacture) fruit and a process (religion) by which to attain it. Christianity is a rootless tree. Its participants spend time validating themselves one to another with their various metrics and live with an uncertainty/anxiety about how God feels toward them. “My metric is better or more important than your metric” — hence all of the infighting.

In all my time in religion, I never found rest. There was always someone to whom I could compare myself and make myself feel more mature or someone I’d feel inferior to. This is the continuous cycle that religion aids in. It arms you with the tools to make fig leaves, to seek and reject validation, and to go against the grain.

We are uncertain of who God really is. We know the God we’ve made up for ourselves. And because we’ve made Him up (or others have done so for us), we have all of these made up ideas about what it takes to please Him.

We are afraid to find out what does please Him because we’re afraid we’re not enough. This idea of us being born sinners and being undeserving of Christ is keeping people bound to a vicious cycle that will refuse to release us. It keeps people believing, “I don’t deserve it. He’s so much greater than I am.”

Aside: It makes me wonder about the relationship between a parent and child. No parent living from light desires to always be greater than their child. They desire for their child to elevate and surpass their level. God is no different. “Greater works shall you do…”

We are afraid to face Him.

We are afraid to truly know Him and be known by Him. So, we create processes and milestones that make us feel worthy to be associated with Him. We seek maturity, spiritual mastery, knowledge, accolades and such to validate ourselves to Him.

This is where the second question comes in.

What if it’s (life) not about maturity, but about humility?

There are many quotes that seek to define humility. I’m sure there is a precise way to define the word, but I’d like to look at the picture of humility. It involves ‘light.’

“God is light and in Him is no darkness” (1 John 1:5). Scripture also refers to Jesus as light. “Therefore יהושע spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but possess the light of life.” (John 8:12). The Torah is light as well. “For the command is a lamp, And the Torah a light, And reproofs of discipline a way of life” (Proverbs 6:23).

There are a few important precepts to understand about light.

Light gives life. This is to say it is the only Source/Provider.

Light challenges. This is to say, light will expose what something is or isn’t. It will call it to its highest self or truth.

Light reflects. This is to say that light provides identity.

Light is authority. This is to say that light is foundation, seed, root, and dictates the identity of someone or something. It IS the standard.

As a child of Light, we can expect: for God to be our provider, to show us who we are, to challenge and remove what isn’t Him, to be the authority by which we function in this world, and to reveal His standard. Doesn’t this kind of sound like Jesus? “I only do what I see my Father do.” Jesus was called a Son of God because he learned from (submitted to) Light. He’d gone through the necessary process/cycle by which light becomes the only standard.

We often see life as a process by which we are growing to maturity. This is true. But, maturity and humility do not cancel each other out.

Humility is a state of being in which I am submitted to light. Humility is vulnerability. It doesn’t matter if I think or others think I’ve matured if I am untrained in vulnerability. Humility is a picture of trust. If I have not trusted God to provide for me, to show me who I am, to challenge and remove what isn’t Him, to be the authority by which I function in this world, I have simply reached a level of “mastery” in the eyes of society/world.

To describe this humility: I’m not worried about tomorrow and the alleged milestone that may be waiting there for me. I’m not worried about what metric I’ve set up to feel like I’m progressing. I’m not worried about my wants and needs. I’m not worried about giants. I’m not trying to pave my own way. I am present today resting, trusting, open before Him so that He may show me Him.

My sister said this and it drove it home for me. “A child isn’t worried about being able to walk. A child isn’t worried about what they sound like. A child isn’t worried about how to eat or where their next meal will come from.” A child trusts. A child is surrendered. A child rests. A child explores. A child has no care of danger.

In the Church, they talk about having child-like faith. This is a description of it. I am vulnerable and open before my Father. I trust my Father. I see He is good. I see I am good. I am not concerned with getting to a place where I no longer need help of a particular kind. That time will come naturally. It is not my concern the appointed seasons in which I’ll develop this or that. My only responsibility is to stay connected to Him through vulnerability and trust. The connection is what signifies real maturity.

Considering these ideas, my perspective shifts when I think of popularly quoted verses. “I know the plans I have for you.” “Trust in the LORD with all your heart.” “Come boldly to the throne of grace.” “Do not worry about tomorrow.” “Does he not feed the birds?”

Every day, I’ve begun to wake up with the expectation that God will provide for me. God will show me who I am. God is the authority by which I navigate and learn. God is my Father. God knows me. God loves me. God thinks I’m worthy. God knows.

The system and surrounding systems of religion ask us to bear responsibility that isn’t ours. Again, my only responsibility is to stay connected to Him through vulnerability and trust. The steadfast connection is what determines and signifies real maturity.

Religion is Unnatural

We live in a society that values toiling. Toil is a sign that the conditions are not ideal for what is natural to be brought about. Religion is unnatural.

It was always YAH’s intention that mankind WORK — cultivate and steward. It was never His intent that mankind TOIL (go outside of Him to produce what was naturally to be ours).

Let’s observe a tree! (The tree is an example used in Scripture and Hebraic perspective to describe YAH, us, and how life works). To some extent a seed and the root system must work in order to establish what they are naturally to be and become. The roots push through the soil in order to be established. That is work. It is not toil. When they toil, it is a sign that the conditions are not ideal for what is natural to be brought about. Then the gardener must heal the unhealthy conditions and the effects thereof.

We live in a society that values toiling. Our society values going outside of YAH to get what is naturally ours. We are taught to invest resources (intellect, finances, time, energy, etc.) into the institutions and ideas that are valued by society as a whole in order to validate ourselves to society.

Daily life seems like a balancing act between toiling and working. To work is godly — as in, it is natural. (I’m not talking about a job or career). Our entire lives are work. Our lives are the acts of creating, cultivating, and stewardship. This is work.

Everything created works and must rely on something outside of itself to produce the best. This is the picture of trust. The world was created on the system of trust. Toil is not trust. Toil is a picture of the response of one who has not been experienced in trust. Trust requires me to be provided FOR. Toil requires that I provide for myself. Toil says, “I do not trust for someone else to provide this for me.”

Storytime:

I had a mishap recently in which money was withdrawn from my account without my authorization and it left me with nothing. The process of getting it back is going to take longer than when I needed it. I’m traveling tomorrow and had very little gas in my car. The struggle was real. So, I had to ask my Dad for the money to “hold me over.” As I told him what was going on, his response was, “Dang! Sounds like you’re in between a rock and a hard place!” My response was, “I am! I really am! (Laughing).” During this whole interaction, I realized that I do so much to make sure I’m not in the position to need someone else’s help financially. One could rationalize this with, “I have to make sure I don’t need anyone because I couldn’t ask anyone around me for help if I needed to. So, I gotta grind!” That sounds like it makes sense and it does — according to the system of toil! Living in the space of not needing someone else’s help produced a false confidence in me and has only assisted in isolating myself from the richness of vulnerability and trust.

The foundation of our relationship with YAH and all life is trust. Trust is natural. Independence is in direct conflict with trust.

The conditions that promote toil tell us we must sustain ourselves. It tells us we must be independent. Work gives us the opportunity to be vulnerable and value others. Work allows us to be strengthened — to live in community with others.

The Voice of Religion

The foundation of our relationship with YAH and all life is trust. Trust is natural. It is natural that YAH provides for us. Religion is unnatural.

If you’ve read any of my blogs, you’ll see me reference ‘religion.’ When I say religion, I’m not merely talking about organized religions recognized by civilization. I’m speaking to a system (that can be found at the foundation of various institutions), by which people attempt to access what YAH freely gives through their many traditions. Religion requires and justifies toil through shame and fear.

“If I were serious about God, I would be doing _____.” “If I don’t do this, God might do that.” “This is what you do when you love God.” “When you’re a leader, this is what you do.” I’ve heard these things from pulpits from the most well-meaning of people. I’ve used these thoughts to motivate me to “do the right thing.” It does not work. It only keeps you in a cycle of fear and shame. A lot of us are not interacting in relationship with YAH through true connection, but from fear.

In YAH’s system, anything I am to do, would naturally be produced in me if He’s the root, the mirror, the foundation. If I have to manufacture conditions in my relationship, something unnatural is being applied. This means, trust is not the connecting point. This means vulnerability is not the connecting point. This means I am trying to cover myself. We look at the story of Adam and Eve and don’t see the fig leaves we live with every day. We just enjoy being clothed. The worst part is religion compliments you on your fashion. Fig leaves keep out vulnerability and the fruit thereof.

Religion promotes deficiency and arms us with the tools to cover them. Here are some, to name a few: knowledge, church leadership, promotion, recognition, financial progression, pedestal living, etc. The voice says, “As long as I have _______, I’m alright!” Religion promotes a self-image of lack. Religion says, “I should be further along than this. So, here’s what I’ll do to cover where I truly am.” Toil indicates I am in lack and therefore I must strive to be complete. Work sees oneself for who I am and sees value in self and others. Religion is toil. Religion is exhausting. Religion is accusatory. Religion is weak. Religion is unnatural.

Vulnerability is the foundation for work.

Back to the Basics

Let’s glance at Scripture.

WORK

“And יהוה Elohim took the man and put him in the garden of Ěḏen to work it and to guard it.”
Berĕshith (Genesis) 2:15 TS2009

STEWARDSHIP

“And Elohim blessed them, and Elohim said to them, “Be fruitful and increase, and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over all creeping creatures on the earth.”
Berĕshith (Genesis) 1:28 TS2009

COMMUNITY — INTERDEPENDENCE

“And יהוה Elohim said, “It is not good for the man to be alone, I am going to make a helper for him, as his counterpart.”
Berĕshith (Genesis) 2:18

VULNERABILITY

“And they heard the voice of יהוה Elohim walking about in the garden in the cool of the day, and Aḏam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of יהוה Elohim among the trees of the garden.”
Berĕshith (Genesis) 3:8 TS2009

The story of creation portrays a picture of vulnerability and trust.

I’m Tired of Religion

Religion is the manmade system to access what YAH freely gives. For humans to create an entire system for access to something, it is saying, “I don’t trust the method You (YAH) will choose to give it to me. I don’t trust that You will. I don’t believe that you value me enough to do this for me. You will only do this for me if I make you happy by doing _____.” You do not toil for love. You do not toil for holiness. Love and holiness require work (cultivating and stewarding) — not toil. Vulnerability is the foundation for work.

Think On: If you are unsure as to whether or not you’re toiling, take this opportunity to reflect on the following statements. Write down your thoughts and feelings as you read them.

Shalom.

The Torah, Sin, and Me

The Torah is the foundation for all Scripture. A lack of understanding the Torah leads to a lack of understanding Scripture.

I’ve heard a lot of talk about sin as it relates to injustice and it got me thinking. Many have come to understand the usual ‘lie, cheat, steal’ set of “sins” does not include ALL sin. Christians’ interpretation of sin is expanding. (I specify Christians because they largely subscribe to ‘a set of sins’ ideology and other cultures already have a more nuanced perspective about “sin.”)

We think sin is something you do or neglect to do. It is very black and white. With this expansion of interpretation, Christians are understanding sin to have a bit of nuance.

See, Christian theologians have greatly influenced Christianity practiced in Western culture.

Western culture is influenced by Greco-Roman culture and ideals. This is not to say that it is bad. It is to say its foundation from which all ideas come is in direct contradiction of the foundation of Scripture. The Torah is the foundation for all Scripture. A lack of understanding the Torah leads to a lack of understanding Scripture.

Many believe the Torah is “the Law.” Due to Christian doctrine that says, “the law is done away with,” many avoid this portion of Scripture and unbeknownst to them — avoid understanding.

The Torah is not the law; though there are translations of the Hebrew word that mean law. It is best understood as “instruction, way.” When the psalmist David writes and asks YHWH to instruct him (David) in His ways, THIS is what he’s referring to.

The Torah is the instruction given to all who would come into covenant with YHWH. It does not instruct us with rules and regulations to follow in a “black and white” manner. It is a picture of the way YAH would desire us to walk. It is a guide for anyone to understand how life works. The Torah is the WAY.

Being raised in Torah teaches you how to submit to a process of healing so that you may always produce at your optimum level. The Torah teaches you that the wholeness of Israel is YAH’s desire and anything that does not bring about that is a failure to walk in the way. Thankfully, YAH, the beloved Father He is, teaches us in our failure.

The Torah does not apply the usual negative connotation to the word “failure.” According to the Torah, sin is failure to walk in His ways. This isn’t as black and white as we normally perceive it. When we see YAH respond strongly by giving certain consequences like “they shall be cut off from their people,” we assume it must mean “this sin is worse than others.” According to the Torah, it is not so. Granted, the Torah does not teach that all sin is equal. It is not. There are levels to this and responses from humans to help make the failure right (that’s for another day).

The Hebrew word for “sin” is חטאה (chatah, Strong’s #2403) and literally means “miss the mark.” Sin is when we fail (miss) to walk in His ways (the mark). His ways are not rules and regulations. His ways are based on identity. His ways are based on who He is.

In my recent blog post, You Don’t Owe God Anything, I allude to this. Have you ever asked, “Why does God do things a certain way? Why does He not like this or that? Why does this matter to Him?” It all comes down to identity. It all comes down to nature. It all comes down to his function. The same is true for us.

Every instruction given in the Torah is for a purpose. Every instruction is YAH revealing to us who He is and who we are as a result. This is to say that He does not give instructions expecting or hoping for us to fail. He gives commands (instructions) that reveal who we are. His standard says, “I have made you to function this way; therefore, function this way.” One of the best examples of this is The 10 Words (what Christians call The Ten Commandments).

Everything YAH opposes in the Torah is due to it being an incomplete picture of Him and how He intends for us to live. YAH operates a particular way. He is a living being that engages with life about Him. Anything that desires to exist in fellowship with Him will be called to a particular standard of function and He has every desire to teach us how. He does not place a weight on you that requires, “First, you do this and then I’ll approve you.” Relationship with Him is process. It is a becoming. It is an undoing from one experience to the next.

This is the freedom I have found outside of religion. At the core of religion is the idea that “I must ______ to be approved or validated.” In YAH, I am truly validated. Meaning: He is my Provider. He is my Source of identity — not the “success” of my efforts to be right. He is intentional about ensuring my healing. He is intentional about ensuring my oneness. He is intentional about ensuring my wholeness.

This intentionality is a picture of Love. He does not give up. He did wait for me to choose Him. He chose me and continues to pursue relationship with me.

To see sin the way we’ve been taught endangers my ability to receive love and therefore function in an intimate relationship with Him. For, I will always see what I do or do not do as something that puts me at risk of being rejected by Him. So, I would not live from a place of vulnerability allowing Him to be light and teach me His ways. Instead, I would run, hide, and create fig leaves. Much of our ideology and practices are modern versions of fig leaves.

YAH is not interested in us pretending to have an intimate relationship with Him. I’ll say it another way. YAH is not interested in us providing for ourselves. He is not interested in us providing identity for ourselves. Without Him as light, the identity we provide for ourselves is incomplete and therefore could never be perfect (whole, complete). That’s where much “sin” comes from — a need for identity and our response to this need. Much sin is a response to lack and our best efforts to cover it.

In YAH, there is no lack. There is fulfillment. There is completeness. There is wholeness. There is healing.

Would you be made whole?

For further study on this topic:

Click on the links found in this post for further reading and study.

On Sensible Fool: Repent: More Than a Word, Religion: System Failure, Religion: A Twitter Rant

Understanding the Law: https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/studies-nt/understanding-law-in-romans-and-galatians.htm

You Don’t Owe God Anything

“Because He saved me, I owe Him my life.” “He’s been good to me. So, I owe Him ______.” Does this sound familiar? Then, keep reading.

Many of us have been taught, “Because He saved me, I owe Him my life.” “He’s been good to me. So, I owe Him ______.” “Jesus died for me; so, I owe Him..” “It’s the least you can do.”

You may have never said this overtly, but this is the foundation of the faith of many people. Before reading further, you might say, “I do what I do for God, because I get to or because I want to.” Maybe. Don’t let that stop you from reading further.

There are many problems with living from this idea of “I owe God.”

  1. It’s built on conditional love.

The love we experience from YAH is not conditional. We think it is, because we’ve misinterpreted Scripture. Infamously, the passages that speak to the people of Israel saying, “If you do _____, you will be blessed. If you do _____, you will be cursed,” have been understood to list conditions by which YAH exists in relationship with us or what we have to do to make God move or what we shouldn’t do to keep God happy. Then, there are those that completely dismiss it under the impression it has no relevance today. (It is of utmost importance that we understand the true meaning of blessing and cursing; but, that’s for another blog.)

Instead of seeing them as computation sequences for a relationship with YAH, we should study those passages to discover what YAH values (it’s not what a lot of us think).

Additionally, we can study those passages and see them as principles or laws governing everything (and YAH himself). See, YAH is One. He is whole. He is complete. He is holy. Being One is what it means to be holy. YAH is bound to His nature — meaning He cannot and will not act outside of His nature. So, when certain things happen, He will naturally respond a particular way. We never have to guess. He is governed by laws or “ways” that reveal something about who He is intrinsically. He desires for us to walk in those ways — His Way.

Trust in יהוה with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; Know Him in all your ways, And He makes all your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6)

  1. Everything you do is to be a NATURAL response — not a weight placed upon you.

See, this is the issue with Christianity as the system it is. Unknowingly, many, if not most, are living life bearing weight. Many Christians are carrying weights and responsibilities that are not theirs.

You are not the “last Jesus” they’ll see. That’s a weight.

You don’t live a certain way for the appearance of things. That’s a weight.

You should be “here” by now. That’s a weight.

“But, I’m the pastor, so I got to..” That’s a weight.

“I can’t stop working. Leaders don’t stop.” That’s a weight.

The lack of vulnerability in the lives of Christians (the leaders as well).. This is due to a weight.

Most Christians and those brought up under the system of Christianity are still bearing weight. The foundation of their relationship with YAH is, “I’m a sinner and while I know Jesus paid my debt, I’m going to live a life of paying it off by going to church, being nice to my atheist neighbors, by serving in the church, reading my Bible, etc. It’s the least that I can do.”

This was me — a checklist Christian. I had a checklist in my heart of what I needed to do to be considered a good Christian in the eyes of God and man. Many are choosing their church, ministers, friends, music, and ministry based on who and what aligns with the checklist they have in their minds. The checklist we feel we need to create that would yield a “holy” life is due to weight. We’ll think we’re coming further along because we know more Scripture, have been more consistent, etc. We’ll find some sort of validation from man and begin to feel “a little less like a sinner.” In reality, you’re only slipping further and further into slavery. Debt is a weight. To live from a place of “I owe God,” is to live from a place of slavery.

Aside: It has been fascinating to me that many Christians have criticized Jews and Hebrews for following the teachings found toward the front of the Bible due to it being seen as a list of rules and regulations (I was one of them). Meanwhile, Christians have simply created their own lists of rules and regulations and are under the impression YAH is more pleased.

Living from the checklist or passed down doctrine, though common, is unnatural. The book of Romans talks about the invisible evidence that YAH is real. Nature mirrors who YAH is and what He does. No tree’s function is based on this idea, “I owe it to the birds to grow” or “It’s my responsibility to have leaves on my branches.” Instead, they live and function freely and there is a natural result produced. The birds can perch. Certain animals can eat. Humans find shade. Trees function the way they do, because that’s how they were designed. The reason the tree is able to function as it should is because it has first received what it needs.

Much like this, our relationship with YAH functions the same way. My life is a natural response to how I’ve been conditioned to think and see (negative or positive). When I explore the relationship with YAH as my Provider (Father), I receive and am conditioned to think and see as He does. My life begins to transform and I function as I should — freely and wholly — without weight.

3. It positions you to give to God without having truly received. (Whether something has been given matters not if the recipient will not receive it. Let’s see if we’ve really received.)

Think about this for a second: “My life is a natural response to how I’ve been conditioned to think and see.” Another way of thinking about this is: My behavior is a result of how I’ve been conditioned to think and see. My behavior is a result of what I value. See, we all learned a value system as we grew up. We act from this place. Equally, Christians learn a value system in Christianity and act from this place. A step further: My life (my behavior) is my worship. We only get there by exploring relationship with YAH as our Provider.

This is a wide shot of the process and its components: YAH is holy. YAH is Light. Light reveals. Light nurtures. Light causes things to grow. If God is Light and is my Provider, He reveals what is broken and fixes it. If God is my Light and my Provider, He will cause me to grow. If God is Light and my Provider, I will see as He does. I will value what He values. I will function as I am meant to.

The value system of Christianity is backwards and takes its cues from the world around it. Therefore, it cannot produce the process I just laid out above. Many have questioned for years why the Church looks strikingly similar to society. It is built on the same values. Until the foundation is completely rebuilt, the Church will be ineffective.

The emphasis and foundation has long been “doing” and not “being.” That’s one description of the system of Christianity. For example, Christians keep seeing worship as the first 30-minutes of a service (something we do), rather than our lives (who we are). What’s worse is Christians say, “worship is more than a song,” but continue to relegate the “worship experience” to music — saying one thing and doing another. This is the major issue with Christianity. It is a breeding ground for hypocrisy. I’m saying this as one who was very deep in this system of Christianity and am still having to unlearn the slavery and religion I didn’t think I was learning all that time.

Taking up the stance of “I owe God,” is to say many different things at the same time. It is to say: God requires something of me. I am in debt. I have something of value to give God. God needs me. God is lacking. The list goes on.

It is most interesting to study the Torah and see how YAH instructed Israel to handle debt. YAH understands that a person cannot ever truly be free if they are in debt. This is why our relationship with Him is not based off of debt. Our relationship with Him is based on trust. Society is built on debt/credit and is predicated on a lack of trust and value of people, hence the interest rates and fees.

If you have not learned YAH as your Provider (Father), you have not yet received. If you have not experienced YAH as your Provider, you will accept the weight of providing for yourself (hence the checklist; an attempt to provide validation for yourself). Many of us think we know Him as Provider because we can recount a time or two we were blessed financially or with an opportunity. Unfortunately, we’ll claim He provided for us in those moments, but won’t let Him provide true validation (we’ll keep seeking it from man). We’ll keep seeking validation through traditions and habitual practices. We’ll refuse to be vulnerable because our standing with Him depends upon us being our “very best.” If you have not learned YAH as your Provider, you have nothing to give.

This means all your religion has been given from an empty place. Religion is always empty. So, you’ll likely return to the altar still feeling like you’re not good enough. You’ll likely return to the altar to “rededicate” your life to Him. You’ll likely return to the altar to have an emotional experience through worship. You’ll likely return to that church service faithfully to never jeopardize the validation that comes from man.

The foundation upon which you’ve built your faith could be what’s keeping you from experiencing true freedom. If you are willing to examine your heart over the next year for any ideology that says, “I owe God” or “I owe God because __,” do it. There’s so much freedom on the other side!

You don’t owe God anything.