I have never liked the word religion.
I know that may sound weird to someone reading this because this is a blog that is all about God.
But to me, I do not think of believing in God as a religion.
Yes, christianity is a religion, but it is so much more than that..
I have heard so many people say that they are “religious”.
What does that really mean though?
I am not judging them, only observing when I say this: the majority of the people that I have heard say they are religious, are unkind to others, negative, do not have a prayer life, and use Jesus’s name as a swear word.
Believing in a religion and having a relationship with Him, are two completely different matters.
I do not like to judge others when it comes to their belief in God because I know everybody is on their own path with God and the pace varies drastically from one person to the next.
We are all human and fall short of God’s glory everyday. We all mistakes and I never like to judge someone based on their actions because I know humans have many layers and normally behind every action, is a story or a reason why that person is acting how they are.
But, when we truly accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior in our hearts and declare it with our tongue, scripture tells us we become a new creation ( 2 Corinthians 5:17).
We shake off the shackles and behaviors of our old life and begin again, but this time with Christ. This is life changing.
We are held to a higher standard as believers.
If we are living in a sinful manner, we must repent to God, admit our shortcoming, ask for forgiveness, and for God to change our hearts to align with how He wants us to live.
The process is not always easy and can be messy, but it is so so worth it.
Believing in Jesus is so much more than saying our prayers before meals and bedtime, only going to God when we want something, and showing up to church every Sunday.
It comes with this beautiful relationship that we get to build with Jesus and He builds with us.
It is not about just following a set of rules and checking it off your to do list everyday.
It is a raw, honest, exhilarating, messy, and intimate relationship.
I know that it might sound confusing and it may be the first time you have heard of a relationship with Jesus, but from my personal life and experience, having a relationship with Jesus and having raw communication with Him, was how my faith started and it only has escalated from there.
Crying out to God on my knees one night, is where it all started for me. It was extremely raw and painful, but Jesus met me where I was on that floor and lifted my eyes toward His and told me, to not worry or be afraid. He had a good plan for my future (Jeremiah 29:11) and He was with me every step of the way.
I learned who Jesus was that night. When I felt His presence so strongly in the midst of my lonely pain. And my relationship with Him started from there.
The truth is, we were made in the image of God and we are meant to have a relationship with our Creator. He dwells in us.
I can’t imagine going through life without Jesus by my side each and every day.
The relationship that I have built with Jesus is so sacred and special to me and I NEED it and Him every day.
Typically, relationships can take time to manifest and the more time you are in a relationship with someone, the more you know about them and more trust is built.
The same goes for our relationship with Jesus.
We need to spend time with Him and communicate with Him all day, for trust to be built and for the relationship to deepen.
Just because we cannot see Him, does not mean it is any less of a relationship. It is the MOST important one we will ever have.
Jesus did not want His children to follow a checklist, and just have us come to Him when we need something or are hurting. He wants to commune with us through all of life’s joys and all of life’s struggles.
Talk to him when you are happy and joyful. Tell Him about your good day and thank Him for it.
And talk to Him when you are struggling and can’t seem to stop crying.
If we go to Jesus only when we are in trouble, we will be in trouble.
We can’t treat Jesus like the birthday cake we have once a year. We have to treat him like our daily bread. He is meant to be apart of our lives every single day.
It’s not about Religion, I’ve been Forgiven
I attended a Newsboys concert a few years ago and during the intermission, one of the singers was telling us about the different shirts you can buy after the show, to remember the night by.
But he said there is this one shirt for sale that is not just to remember the night by, but to wear and use it to create and start conversations with people.
It said: “It’s not about Religion, I’ve been Forgiven”.
He said that he has had people come up to him multiple times and ask him what his shirt meant.
He was explaining to the crowd that this shirt opened up opportunities for him to explain what knowing Jesus is all about.
He went on to say that people were always confused when it said its not about religion and wondered what it meant.
But he said the second part of it is what knowing Jesus and having Him live in your heart is all about:
We’ve been forgiven.
Jesus loves us so much that He came to live a mans life and died a painful death that saved us all.
He loves us with a love that is so fierce.
When we fall short and make mistakes, He does not hold our sins against us. Instead He picks us up, looks at us and says, “You’re forgiven and I love you.”
He wants to hear about our troubles, He smiles at us when we are overjoyed with His blessings He has given to us, and He weeps with us when our hearts hurt.
That is a relationship.
He loves us and knows us better than we know ourselves. And He wants us to know Him and grow with Him each and every day.
One of the most important parts of a relationship is communication.
If we do not talk to God, we will not feel or be close to Him. Just like how we feel when we do not talk to someone for a long time. The relationship is pretty much non existent.
So, let’s not forget to talk to Him and feed our relationship with Our God.
Sometimes we can get so focused on serving and doing good, which do not get me wrong that is very important to our faith walk, but we must be getting to know our Father in Heaven more intimately everyday. That relationship is so important.
It’s not about the checklist of our faith, but the deep, personal relationship with Jesus.
I hope this encourages your heart and puts anyones heart at ease thinking they do not do enough or missed church a couple weeks in a row.
Do not believe those lies from the enemy.
Jesus simply wants to hear your voice and be closer to you.
All for Jesus,
Came across these quotes and I really liked them and wanted to share:
“Religion is a guy in church thinking about fishing. Relationship is a guy out fishing thinking about God.”
“Religion says, God will love you if…Jesus says, God so loved…”