That’s what Private Smith wanted stamped into his dog tags when I asked him what his religious preference was. “PEDESTRIAN!” He proudly chuckled! “That’s what I’ll be!” “Not catholic? Not Protestant? Christian? Baptist?…….. Are you SURE, Private Smith?” I asked, (with a perplexed look on my face I’m sure!) “I know that I am none of those. So, I’ll just be a ……… PEDESTRIAN!” He laughed as he answered me.
So I typed the letters into his dog tags. P-E-D-E-S-T-R-I-A-N. That was in 1982. I still remember, and often wonder if Private Smith ever became anything other than a “pedestrian.”
Just a few years ago, someone asked ME, “Are you catholic?” I answered, “No.” “Well, are you Jewish?” they asked. “No.” I answered once again. Then, the woman very condescendingly turned around with her back to me, looked over her shoulder and arrogantly asked, “Well! Just what ARE you, then?”
Remembering Private Smith, I chuckled inside, tempted to answer her “A pedestrian,” but instead, replied, “I follow a Jewish Rabbi. HIS NAME IS JESUS.”
Why didn’t I just refer to myself as a Christian? Well – The truth is, (the way I see it, at least), the word “Christian” has become a “default” spirituality status these days. If one doesn’t follow buddah, identify as an athiest or agnostic (which, by the way means “ignorant” in Greek), Jewish, or catholic, then, as long as you “believe in God,” you can just check the “Christian” status box.
Really? Because, in my opinion, I’m not ONE thing, just because I’m NOT another thing. And, contrary to general belief today, I happen to believe that we are NOT all children of God.
(Let the hate mail begin!)
Okay, just listen. I told you. I “follow a Jewish Rabbi – Jesus.” His teachings in the Bible TELL us this!!!
We are ALL, every single one of us, created IN the image of God. Colossians 1:16 tells us this! “For in Him (Jesus) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
HOWEVER!!! (Brakes squealing here…………)
The question then becomes………. But who is your FATHER? In the Book of John, there is a dispute going on about this, and Jesus makes it clear in John 8:47, “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” In John 8:42-45, Jesus states, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!”
I became a “follower of Jesus” and God became my Father because, like Romans 8:14-17 states, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him, we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself TESTIFIES with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now, if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”
That whole, “HIS Spirit testifying with MY spirit” thing? Once YOUR spirit experiences that, you KNOW who your Daddy is! In John 6:44a Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them.” That means it happens NOT because you have just completed 8th grade, or turned 14, completed a 6-week course, or because your mom and dad say it’s time. It happens, (according to Jesus), when the FATHER decides. And like I said, you’ll KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, when the Holy Spirit testifies with YOUR spirit!
Still don’t believe me?
In John 3, Nicodemus comes secretly to Jesus during the night (again, whether your Bible has 66 books or 73 books). He asks Jesus HOW does one get to heaven?? And Jesus tells him, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” When Nicodemus asks how this can possibly be true, Jesus replies, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
So, you see – It’s NOT about what your Mommy & Daddy believe. It’s not about what “parish” you belong to. It’s not about the rituals, or how many hours you’ve clocked making afghans for the homeless or served in the local soup kitchen. It’s about what JESUS HAS DONE. It’s not about you, and it’s not about me. It’s about JESUS. The NOTION that there is ANYTHING we could do that would make us WORTHY of the price He paid for our sin, is ………… Well, it’s one of the biggest lies the church has allowed the enemy to convince people of!
YOU and I cannot do ANYTHING to earn our way to heaven. Jesus already did it FOR US! Open up a Bible. Check it out for Yourself.
So, I gotta ask you! Who’s YOUR Father? Don’t be a “pedestrian.” He’s knocking. Hear his voice. Answer Him. Follow Him. Let Him be YOUR Father, today!
You see, it’s about who your Father is, not what “parish” you belong to!