Throughout God’s Word the recurring message is relationship not religion.
Have you ever thought about the fact that God does not have a religion? Some think that God is a Christian or a Jew but God does not identity with any religion. God has NO religion. God is God.
In fact, God doesn’t want us to have religion either. God wants us to be in relationship with Him.
Yes, there is a major difference in having religion or having a relationship.
When God created Adam and Eve on the 6th day God designed them (i.e. humanity) to be like Him (Genesis 1:26, 27; 2:7). Immediately following Adam’s “coming to life” moment God established a relationship with him (on purpose) and introduced him to the ABSOLUTE BEST life (Genesis 1:31).
God designed a home for Adam (the garden of Eden) and placed him there to live and thrive (Genesis 2:8, 15).
Just a quick Biblical Hebrew lesson. The term garden depicts an enclosure such as a fence.Eden means pleasure or delight. Therefore, I like to refer to their community as the Gated Delight.The first gated community.
Inside the Gated Delight were desirable foods, gorgeous trees, a flowing river and of course Adam’s bae, Eve. They experienced open and direct communication with God. Sounds great right? Of course it does!
The relationship that God had established with Adam and Eve could not be broken, that is, unless they decided to break it. Well, as we know Adam and Eve decided to break that relationship by sinning (Genesis 3:6). Because of their decision to sin they forfeited their Gated Delightcommunity for the unknown community of sin. Consequently, creating a blur in the relationship between God and humankind.
From that time on God wanted to continue the relationship with us even with the effects of sin.
God demonstrates His desire to continue in relationship with us when He instructed the Israelite’s to build the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:8), when He informed Israel to turn back to Him (2 Chronicles 7:14) and when He sent His Son Jesus to save us (John 3:16).
We all know that Jesus Christ is our savior but too many of us live as if religion is our savior.
Too many people have been taught that they need a religion in order to know God. This is far from the truth. Knowing God comes through relationship not religion. We have become so caught up in religion that we have more understanding of religion than we do of how to have a relationship with God through His Son Jesus.
Do you have more religion than you do a relationship with God?
Here are some points why God is about relationship not religion.
- Religion is a man made entity pushing man’s agenda much more so than God’s agenda. Therefore, when a person doesn’t perform according to religion they are ostracized by that religion. This can create hostility in the person who is being rejected by religion to turn away from what they deemed to represent God thus turning away from God. If a person only has religion and religion boots them out then in their minds God has booted them out too. Although religion will boot you out God doesn’t. Now don’t get it twisted. God has rules but God rules are never to boot us out unlike religion. Don’t allow religion to replace your relationship with God. Religion can NOT save and will never be able to save.
- Religion does not solely represent God but more so a person’s or group of people personal preferences. Personal preferences are just that, personal preferences. They have nothing to do with God per se but all to do with what that person or group prefer. You might ask: “Is it wrong to have a personal preference? No. It is not wrong to have a personal preference. We all have many. You may prefer purple over pink or yellow over grey. You may prefer a Chevy over a Ford or a blinged out broche over diamond earrings. You may prefer slang over the king’s “English”.Whatever your preference might be then that’s all it is….your preference. Personal preferences become an issue when attempting to make others abide by that preference as if it is salvific (causing us to be saved). God doesn’t force us to be in a relationship with Him.
- Religion is forceful God is not. God allows each and everyone of us to choose if we want to be in relationship with Him or not. When Joshua led the people of Israel he spoke to them and told them that being in a relationship with God was their choice. They could freely choose to be in relationship with God or not (Joshua 24:15). It’s God’s desire that everyone has a relationship with Him (2 Peter 3:9) but it’s also His desire that we have free will.
- Religion is heavily influenced by culture. We all have what is called a world view. Our worldview is influenced by our upbringing and culture. For instance, in some cultures it is disrespectful for children to look their elders in the eye. In other cultures for children not to look their elders in the eye is disrespectful. In some cultures it is deemed “indecent” for preachers to not preach in a suit and tie or women to wear pants. In other cultures it doesn’t matter. Religion take what is good in culture (according to them) adopts it as religion and attempt to present it as God. Have you ever heard this statement? Cleanliness is next to godliness. Did you think it was biblical? Sorry y’all not biblical. It was coined by culture. What about this statement? God help those who help themselves. Surely that’s biblical right? No. If that statement were true then there would have been no need for Jesus Christ death.
- Religion creates a divide among people and it too often become people’s god. God embraces unity and oneness with Him. There will be NO divide in the New Jerusalem.
- Religion promote performance, rituals, tradition and putting on a front. God promotes realness. There are so many people in religion that are hurting and no one will ever know because religion call people to be perfect. We come to our churches and such dressed to impress but our spirits are busted and disgusted when we come in and when we leave out.
- Religion act as a middleman between us and God. The only “middleman” that should be between us and God is the Holy Spirit.
- Religion places God in its box and set limitations on God. God is limitless and is bigger than what religion has made Him out to be. The biggest box that religion has placed God in is the Bible.There is more to God than what is contained in the Bible. The Bible is the foundation of who God is but the Bible is not all in all of who God is. However, God IS all in all and God can never be contained between two leather flaps.
All in all, it will be our relationship with God through Jesus that will save us and not our religion that encompasses God and too often act as our gods.
God was never met to fit into our box of religion. So let’s stop trying.
Come out of religion (rituals and tradition) and get into relationship with God through Jesus Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit. #LivingTheLife
“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” Romans 10:3