Christians as God’s garden, not as a religious institution

Behold the Lamb of God by looking unto Jesus and seeing Him who invisible. Look beyond church! Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Comforter so perhaps we should look to the Spirit for comfort rather than to a religious leader.

Christians need to grow the fruit of God’s Spirit, not religious institutions. Make your life a fruit-of-the-Spirit-garden.

The only legitimate Head for any group claiming to be part of the body of Christ is the living, resurrected Jesus. Anyone or anything that interferes with you maintaining a direct relationship with Jesus is an idol. We need to point people to the risen Jesus, not to our favorite religious institution.

Christians should be disciples of the living Jesus, not disciples of a particular Christian leader. Just because some people use the title pastor (or other religious titles) doesn’t mean that they are reliable spiritual leaders. When modern Christian leaders cause people to look to them, they neglect to direct people’s attention to the living Jesus.

When Christians ignore and set aside their various church identities, they can enjoy the amazing unity of the Spirit. I love to hang out with Christ-followers who love to talk about Jesus without mentioning church affiliation. To identity with a particular church name is to disassociate yourself from the rest of the body of Christ. Identifying as someone who loves the risen Jesus is enough.

The organizational chart for the body of Christ is: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” All true Christians are united heart to heart, but institutional identity interrupts our unity. Christians can follow desires, feelings, opinions, a church, or a religious leader, but we’re called to follow the risen Jesus.

Daily reading the Bible with a humble, open heart, will help us avoid being deceived by another Jesus being preached by a misguided leader. It will keep us focused on the living Jesus.

There are tens of thousands of institutional hierarchies in Christianity. Every new one further divides the body of Christ. Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth: “I appeal to you . . . that there be no divisions among you.” Christians have been ignoring his appeal ever since. Today there are an estimated 45,000+ separate denominators.

If the living Jesus
Is unnoticed
And unseen
In your heart,
There’s probably
Or something
Standing between
You and Him.

The person
Who truly sees
How the Pharisees
Treated Jesus
Will be wary
Of religious
It can squeeze
The life-giving breeze
Of God’s Spirit
Out of us.

To shut down Christ’s
Inner living waterspout
Is to choose
To live without
His power.

Your life’s a garden
Where you can grow
The grapes of wrath
Or the fruit
Of God’s Spirit.

Photo by Andre Furtado on

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences in non-traditional church, called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia." If you need encouragement, search for: Elephants Encouraging The Room and/or check out my Amazon author page. Thank you!
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