Read Why I Hate Religion: 10 Reasons to Break Free from the Bondage of Religious Tradition Online

Authors: Creflo Dollar

Tags: #RELIGION / Christian Life / General, #RELIGION / Christian Life / Spiritual Growth

Why I Hate Religion: 10 Reasons to Break Free from the Bondage of Religious Tradition (7 page)

The Hard Knock Life of a Christian

Many Christians are resigned to a lifetime of struggles because they feel that it’s God’s will for them to suffer. They will tolerate hardship after hardship because they think that it is honorable to do so. People even believe that they must suffer for the gospel’s sake. This belief is even reflected in the songs that we sing in church.

One of the most popular gospel songs in the traditional church is “Rough Side of the Mountain.” The main chorus describes believers making a difficult, treacherous climb up a mountain, trusting God and trying really hard to make it. This song had Christians all across the globe climbing the rough side of the mountain. Yet God never told Christians to climb mountains. In fact, He told them to speak to the mountain, and it would be removed (see Mark 11:23). These religious songs not only contradict the Word of God, but also promote the idea that life is supposed to be a constant struggle when it’s not.

When I used to sing in the men’s chorus, we sang a song in which the lead singer would start out saying how hard it is to get by and get along in life. Man, we’d get to rocking and shouting. The church would be in a frenzy over that song. Folks would be shouting and saying, “Yes, Lord, it’s just so hard!” In that song, we were glorifying hardship and suffering. No wonder the church is confused!

Many believers feel that you can’t really know the Lord if you never go through the tests and trials of life, but that’s not God’s design for any Christian. An old saying in the church is, “Child, if there’s no rain in your life, you’ll never learn to appreciate the sunshine.” To strengthen their case, they’d sing about how we all have a cross to bear. By the time they finished singing, you wondered if you even wanted to be a Christian serving a God who wanted you to suffer.

What people don’t understand is that before the foundations of the earth were established, God predestined those who follow Him to experience the good life. Ephesians 2:10 says:

For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that
we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
(
AMP
)

It’s disheartening to see so many preachers talk so much about the pressures of life and about how the only rest a person will have is in heaven. This “No cross, no crown” doctrine is misleading scores of people. The ministers tell their congregations that they have to suffer before they can receive promotion and that God uses trouble and disasters to build character in them. This is wrong teaching; it’s just not biblical.

Some people might ask, “Are you trying to tell us that we never have to go through any hard times, Dr. Dollar?” No, I’m not saying that. Jesus did say that there would be tribulation in this world, but He also said to be of good cheer because He overcame the world, depriving it of its power over you (see John 16:33).

Jesus did say that there would be tribulation in this world, but He also said to be of good cheer because He overcame the world, depriving it of its power over you.

I can hear people laughing at me now. They are saying, “Christians don’t suffer? Then what do you call my being laid off from work and my wife leaving me? I call that suffering.” What I mean is that Christians don’t suffer in the same worldly sense that the others do. What we are put through is more of an endurance race. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:24:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours. Now every
athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither. Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim).

When I played football, my coach taught us that the hardest thing during the whole football season should be the practice; the game should be sweatless. We would practice two to three times a day to prepare for the actual game. Coach knew that if we could just prepare ourselves through practice, the game wouldn’t be hard because we had conditioned our bodies and our minds to overcome the pain, frustration, and exhaustion. When we went out on the field for a game, we did what we were trained to do and obtained the victory. But the guy who’s out of shape because he refused to practice and train will be unprepared and get the wind knocked out of him on the first play of the game.

There are a lot of “out of shape” Christians who refuse to get up and “practice.” They are out of shape in regards to the Word. They are out of confession-shape and out of prayer-shape, and they want to lay the blame on God when the devil knocks the wind out of them. Because they didn’t practice the Word, when hardship came, it was able to ruin their lives. Once it was all over, they glorified the hardship and praised God for the lesson they learned and for getting them where they needed to be. They shout, rejoice, and testify to others about their suffering. What they don’t realize is that if they would have done what was in the Word in the first place, they could have avoided the whole ordeal.

You’ve got to begin to renew your mind to what God has already said in His Word. When you are ignorant of what the Word actually says, hardships will come and you won’t have any power to overcome them. The Word of God is your power source, but if
you haven’t filled your heart up with it, you won’t be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

You’ve got to begin to renew your mind to what God has already said in His Word.

On the other hand, when you prepare yourself by renewing your mind, working the Word, disciplining yourself, and practicing what the Word says, you’ll be more than ready to take on the enemy. Ephesians 6:10–17 says:

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Suit up in God’s armor so you can easily defeat the devil and whatever he tries to throw your way.

Many Christians are basically glorifying the trials and tribulations they go through instead of standing strong in the authority
that God has given them. This practice is widespread, and the sad thing is that people don’t understand that there is no glory in the struggles a person goes through. This is a religious concept that has no basis in the Word of God. The glory comes from when you overcome and triumph over the situation. If cancer rears its ugly head, the glory will come after you have spent time in the Word, you’ve made confessions, and the doctor comes to you saying that you are completely healed. God was the one who brought you out on top. Your hard times don’t perfect you. It is God, through His Word, who does the perfecting.

Your hard times don’t perfect you. It is God, through His Word, who does the perfecting.

I remember a time when I came out of a difficult situation all bruised and beaten up, the Spirit of God didn’t congratulate me and tell me that this experience made me stronger. He said, “Had you done what I told you to do before all this craziness happened, you wouldn’t have had to struggle like that.”

I know what you’re thinking:
If Christians aren’t supposed to suffer through things, then why do bad things happen to good people?
Sometimes, people open the door for bad situations to occur in their lives because of their negative words and attitudes. The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Prov. 18:21). A person’s negative actions will open up the door and allow Satan room to operate in his or her life. A man might think that just because he has been in the church for over thirty years, nothing bad should happen to him. If this person only knows traditional teachings, then his actions aren’t Bible-based but fear-based, and fear is the key that the devil needs to operate in your life.

God didn’t create sickness, bondage, and lack to punish us. These things are in the world today because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. God created man as a free moral agent, giving us the ability to choose between right and wrong. Adam willfully chose to listen to the devil and disobey God’s order not to eat the forbidden fruit. Because of his act of disobedience and treason against God, sin, sickness, and suffering entered the world. But through the blood of Jesus, believers now have the right to wholeness, soundness, and peace in their lives. It is because of wrong teaching that many Christians still think God puts affliction on them, so they put up no resistance to it, and are defeated time and time again.

Through the blood of Jesus, believers now have the right to wholeness, soundness, and peace in their lives.

All Things Work Together for Your Good

When Christians are in the midst of their hard times, what religious cliché do you hear repeated the most? People will say, “Well, you know, all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord.” My question is: Do all things really work together for your good? Does cancer work for your good? This disease is working twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week to kill you, so how is good supposed to come out of it?

People will pluck Romans 8:28 out of the Bible and use it to justify all their problems: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” What sense does that make? Does your precious little baby dying in a car accident work for your good? We know that the child is in heaven, but he was
never able to grow up and fulfill the will of God for his life. Losing your child is never for your good. What about other calamities, such as your house burning down, losing a job, being physically attacked, or being diagnosed with an incurable disease? Do these things work together for your good? You can try to take comfort in that Scripture and say, “Brother, I know that it’s working for my good… somehow,” but it just won’t work.

Do all things work for your good? No. Can God allow something good to come out of a bad situation? Yes! When a person dies unexpectedly, how can God use it for good? This situation will open a door for others to accept Christ into their lives. For example, during home-going services, I always give people an opportunity to give their lives to Christ or to rededicate their lives if they are in a backslidden position. I have seen many lives saved and transformed during these services. That is something to truly rejoice about.

Do all things work for your good? No. Can God allow something good to come out of a bad situation? Yes!

When someone tries to use Romans 8:28 in the wrong context, take the opportunity to share the truth with them. Break the Scripture down in order for them to understand its true meaning. Tell them to look at the whole passage—Romans 8:26–28—instead of just that one verse. When you look at the whole passage, you will see that it is referring to the things of prayer. It says the Spirit of God will help us to pray as we ought to and that all the things of prayer work together for our good. The Holy Spirit, the will of God, and speaking in tongues all work for your good—not all the evil things that happen to you.

God’s Best

Don’t believe the hype of the suffering doctrine; God only wants His best for you. When you work the Word of God, by studying, confessing, and obeying it, you can go through any trial the devil tries to send your way and be victorious in the end. And although you may have to endure trials, you don’t have to set up a tent and camp there. God gave you everything you need to overcome any situation you encounter. Just know that He’s not behind the trouble; He’s the one who gives you the power to come out.

God gave you everything you need to overcome any situation you encounter. Just know that He’s not behind the trouble; He’s the one who gives you the power to come out.

Isaiah 54:14–17 says:

You shall establish yourself in righteousness (rightness, in conformity with God’s will and order): you shall be far from even the thought of oppression or destruction, for you shall not fear, and from terror, for it shall not come near you. Behold, they may gather together and stir up strife, but it is not from Me. Whoever stirs up strife against you shall fall and surrender to you. Behold, I have created the smith who blows on the fire of coals and who produces a weapon for its purpose; and I have created the devastator to destroy. But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in
the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord.
(
AMP
)

Peace, righteousness, security, and victory over opposition are your heritage as a believer. Don’t ever doubt that God will bring you out of every bad situation. He guarantees that the devil’s weapons will not work against you, and He also gives you the ability to be vindicated through Him. His desire for you is to be as successful as you can be in doing this.

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