Relax! Jesus took Extreme Measures, so You Don’t Have to!

Beware if religion asks you to take extreme measures to assure your salvation. #walkhumbly #lovemercy #fmfparty #lovejustice #truechristianity #christianwalk #church #religion #relationship

Beware if religion asks you to take extreme measures to assure your salvation.

This post is part of the Five-Minute Friday quick write hosted by Kate Moutang. Join us each Thursday night on Twitter (#FMFParty) for fun and fellowship, then grab a pen and start writing when the prompt goes live!

Beware if religion asks you to take extreme measures to assure your salvation. #walkhumbly #lovemercy #fmfparty #lovejustice #truechristianity #christianwalk #church #religion #relationship

Why Do You Do the Things You Do?

“Why do you always wear dresses?” one of the grade-school students asked a staff member.

Yes, why do you? I thought, curious to hear the staff member’s answer.

“Jesus wants us to be modest,” she answered, her face lighting with anticipation at the opportunity to explain what she felt Jesus wants to a student. “In fact—”

“Huh,” the student said with a shrug before she turned away and ran to the playground.

Huh. I thought to myself. It’s been over a hundred years since anyone thought pants were immodest. I wondered why the staff member also didn’t keep her head covered in church. Paul made that suggestion two thousand years ago.

I didn’t feel comfortable having a conversation with the young woman in question right then, but her ‘Jesus wants us to be modest’ words made me think about other extreme measures people take in the name of religion.

Unfortunately, churches often conflate religion with relationship. They teach believers how to follow a set of (man-made) standards instead of the example of Jesus.

We Don’t Have to Go to Extreme Measures

Christians throughout the centuries have fallen into this trap. Self-flagellation, walking on your knees up the cathedral steps, only eating certain foods, vowing not to speak, abstaining from caffeine, or wearing hair-cloth garments top the list.

As if those extreme measures can somehow make the Creator of the Universe look at us as holy. Churches preach ‘Only Jesus saves’ from the pulpit and then try to enforce their unique agenda in the lobby and the Bible classes.

I find myself doing the same thing at times, too. If I dress a certain way, act a certain way, and refrain from certain activities, I think God will accept me. As if I can gussy up my stinking, sin-filled carcass in a way that looks good and smells good to God.

I forget (maybe I overlook because I lean towards Type-A) that Jesus took extreme measures, so I don’t have to. We all sin and fall short of God’s glory. All sin stinks—whether it’s adultery or addiction to Downton Abbey, murder or misleading someone.

We can’t dress sin in a fur coat and fix it on our own.

We can't dress sin up in a fur coat and fix it on our own. #fmfparty #onlyJesus Click To Tweet

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 NIV

As we enter the season where we celebrate the birth of Christ, let us relax and consider the ways Jesus’ sacrifice can change our lives.

We don’t need to follow more religious rules and regulations. Instead, we can focus on how to love more, extend grace to others, and nurture our relationships with God and fellow travelers.

Beware if religion asks you to take extreme measures to assure your salvation. #walkhumbly #lovemercy #fmfparty #lovejustice #truechristianity #christianwalk #church #religion #relationship


  1. I remember when I was about 7 my mum told me I had to put on a dress because I was going to church. I replied, “I don’t think Jesus will care what I’m wearing. I think he’ll just be happy if I go.” She wasn’t sure how to respond to that!
    It’s so comforting that God accepts us without us having to follow lots of rules to gain his approval.
    Lesley recently posted…Extreme LoveMy Profile

  2. When I still could go to church
    I wore rock band tank tops,
    and through the open door I’d lurch
    in my old flip-flops,
    cargo shorts that hung from hips,
    the oldest ball cap I could get,
    and stuck right square between my lips,
    and unlit cigarette.
    The ushers sidled up to me,
    but before they had their say,
    the priest just waved, “Hey, let him be,
    this bubba oughta stay,
    for if what Jesus says is true,
    we all can learn a thing or two.”

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Anita. I just happen to be someone who wears skirts and dresses only and wear a cloth thingamajig on my head. I’m so grateful that even if I don’t dress the way I do, God still loves me. I’m even more grateful for the blood Jesus shed for me. Oh now I want to break into songs about the blood of Jesus!😆🎶🎵. FMF #19

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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