It can be tough to join a religion. A brief survey of historical and global practices have people living in complete isolation, strict dietary conditions, lengthy fasts, walking on burning coals. I think the most gruesome is sticking a knife in your eye. Although, I am sure there are more extreme practices. Humanity can be quite creative.
What does the Apostle Paul say it takes to become a Christian?
“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Rom 10:8-9
No hot coals. No sharp knives. No special ritual. Paul emphasises the simplicity of belief, expressed in confession. When we trust in Jesus as the one who knows best, knowing he has power over all things, including death, then God will bring the power of his new life into us. You will be saved. ‘The Message’ bible continues,
“That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!””
Simple. I know we fight, complain, and wrestle with God. I know we don’t like to release control. I know we love the way our life is now. I know we believe we will work our way out of the trouble we are in. Even if it involves crazy or unhealthy behaviours. I know we can struggle to take the ‘leap of faith’. But not only is God’s way better, it’s simpler. Give up, call out, trust him. Go on, do this today.