When I began college, I was involved in a religious cult. The leader was a self-proclaimed prophet who espoused a blend of Christian and Buddhist beliefs. Coming from an atheist background, I was surprised to so quickly embrace such a theocentric world view, but her message was compelling and at that time in my young life, brought order to many disparate religious ideas that I previously thought irreconcilable.
For a few months, I eagerly attended her meditation sessions and learned what I believed was inner peace. Yet, whenever I left the sessions, I was confronted with the usual pressures of college and reverted back to my old feelings of anxiety. What was missing? Perturbed, I went back to her for private sessions and inquired how I could conquer these insecurities given my need to deal with many relationships and secular problems. I hoped for some practical advice to put my new faith into action, instead, I received an impersonal directive.
“I cannot be in this world. I cannot have relationships like everyone else. I am here to teach you the path to god and you must learn to detach from this world.”
Her answers were unsatisfying and left me wanting. It left me to seek answers that only the true God could answer. After studying the Bible and meeting with a Christian classmate who became my friend and mentor, God opened my eyes to the Truth and I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
James 2:26 (KJV)
Some mystical religious teachers remove themselves from this world, avering they are relinquishing all worldly desires and possessions. They live an ascetic life, completely devoted to pondering their god and creation. While I respect their religious devotion, I question how this behavior can help the rest of us to live and cope with this world. I need to live in the real world, not retreat to some mountain top or cave.
Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship with the living God of all Creation, Jesus Christ. I came into this relationship through faith in Jesus Christ. This loving relationship with Jesus is multiplied through relationships with others. Faith does not exist in a social vacuum, only for my benefit. True faith leads to action on behalf of others, always leading to practical action.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.