Religion vs. Relationship

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Too often in today’s society, Christianity is viewed at as a religion that has these rules and guidelines of how to live.  When in fact that is not what it’s all about. Or at least that is not what it was meant to be about. We seem to put God in this weekly calendar by going throughout the week, “church Sunday”, check, “church Wednesday”, check, and that is where it stops.   We don’t focus on the reason we go to church, but rather being seen at church.  People may ask, “What do you mean, being seen?”  And by that I mean exactly what it sounds like, to be seen by people so that they can get this self-satisfaction, or maybe an, “I’m holier than you feeling”.  The only reason I say that, is because I use to be that person and have to battle continuously to not become that person again.

This topic sparks my mind so many times, but yet I seem to look over it.  In fact, I was at church at Passion City in Atlanta, and well known pastor Louie Giglio was preaching and the topic of religion vs. relationship came up.  Louie was standing up front on the stage and he pointed to the back of the room, and got everyone to think about the door back there.  Paraphrasing, now the door was the end of our lives and the aisle that leads to it was our lives.  He then went on to say that religion is like walking down the aisle checking things off a list all by yourself.  Basically doing the best you can.  And then when you come to the end, the door, it opens and standing there is God ready to reward you for your efforts.  He said that is what Religion tells us.  Then he brought up relationship.  He said having a relationship is walking that path to the door, but instead of doing it alone, God is there with you every step you take, leading you to the door.  And when you get to the door then, God shows you what he was leading you to.

Here in America especially we have westernized God.  Churches and its people are focused so much on dress, style of music, its own glory, and individuals pride, that they miss what it’s all about.  Jesus!  Jesus didn’t come to set up a bunch of guidelines and regulations for us to follow.  He came to save us from death, and to give us what?  A relationship with God.

One of my favorite depictions of religion vs. relationship (Jesus) is from Jefferson Bethke’s poem, Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.  A part of it states:

Now back to the point, one thing is vital to mention.

How Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrum.

See one’s the work of God, but one’s a manmade invention.

See one is the cure, but the other’s the infection.

See because religion says do, Jesus says done.

Religion says slave, Jesus says son.

Religion puts you in bondage, while Jesus sets you free.

Religion makes you blind, but Jesus makes you see.

And that’s why religion and Jesus are two different clans.

Religion is man searching for God; Christianity is God searching for man.

In conclusion, I believe the church needs to find a mirror, step back, and just look at its self.  As the body of Christ, do we want to become stuck in westernized religion and taking focus off the one who deserves it all.  I pray that as a people and we as the body of Christ would focus more what we were called to do like Share God, Share Love, and spread the Kingdom rather than making people feel unworthy through religious views. The Bible and Christianity aren’t a collection of guidelines, morals, concepts, and principles.  If you’re too busy focusing on those things, you miss what Christianity is all about.  A relationship with, and spreading the name and life of, JESUS!!!!

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