To listen to the blog post “Relationship Vs Religion: How To Have A REAL Relationship With God?” over reading it click the play button below.
I am probably one of those more contemporary Christians in the sense that I do not just say that I am a Christian and feel that is sufficient, Christianity is a religion. But the idea of Christianity stemmed from a relationship with God. Which is why I am going to talk about relationship vs religion because if you had to choose either or then you should choose relationship.
Ideally they should be one in the same because Christianity was born out of the need to have a relationship with God. But so many people have separated the two and do not understand the difference. It is important that you know the difference because at the end of the day there are going to be a lot of people disappointed when they die because they are going to think that having religion and calling themselves something is just good enough. But it isn’t.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me [you are banished from My presence], you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].’ Matthew 7:21-23
The above Bible verse sounds like a lot of people who thought that they were going to be admitted into heaven based on their works but note what God said. I NEVER KNEW YOU. And that is where the relationship comes in. As a Christian, you should value your relationship with God over anything else. If you call yourself a Christian then that means that Christian is your religion but never mistake having a religion for having a relationship with God. They can go hand in hand but they are two different things entirely. At least in this day and age, they are.
Relationship Vs. Religion Do You Have A Relationship With God? ~ People who are religious but who do not have a relationship with God are often people who:
- Think that JUST going to church will get them into heaven.
- Think that JUST paying tithes will get them into heaven.
- Go to church one day a week but are heathens the rest of the days of the week.
- Does not read their Bible or has no idea what it is says
- Does not talk to God (read my blog here)
- Does not know the function of the Holy Spirit (click my blog here).
- Has a holier than thou mentality
- Thinks that their position in the church makes them holy.
Before we get into the post don’t forget to check out my video my YouTube Channel (which you can click here to subscribe for more on this topic).
1. Relationship vs Religion: 101
Here is one of the biggest examples of relationship vs religion and if you don’t have a real relationship with God. These are those who think that they can sin over and over again and just because they are Christian and are saved that everything is all good. That is only the half-truth.
The idea that once you sin you can ask Jesus for forgiveness and all is well. And so the next day you sin and sin again doing the same thing not even trying to do the right thing and NOT sin. Pleading the blood of the good Lord and it is all good. Right, WRONG! That is what religion tells you. A relationship with God will tell you.
No one who abides in Him [who remains united in fellowship with Him—deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin. No one who habitually sins have seen Him or known Him. 1 John 3:5
Of course, we all fall short BUT a religious person just sins and does not care and pleads the blood of Jesus and asks for forgiveness simply because that is what the “religion” says they are supposed to do. One who has a relationship with God (just as the Bible verse says) when you abide and unite in fellowship with Him you start to be transformed and you start to be convicted to NOT sin or at least try not to sin and to change your bad behavior and not to use the grace of God as an excuse to sin. And that is relationship vs. religion 101.
2. Relationship Vs Religion ~ Jesus was trying to teach us to have a relationship with God.
I think of better yet I KNOW if Jesus had to choose He would want you to have a relationship. I know that because that was the biggest issue Jesus had. This was a large part of the new testament. On the other hand, all the judgmental religious folks not being able to recognize Jesus himself because they were too tied in the religion missed the boat entirely. And because I have to back up everything I say with the Bible, let’s get into some very specific examples of proving my point shall we.
Relationship vs Religion: Case In Point
Jesus healed a man’s hand on the Sabbath and the religious folks got mad. And religion (at that time the Jewish religion) said that this was forbidden because it was against the religious law to do anything on the Sabbath. Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there.
Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.
Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. Mark 3:1-6
Here the religion was telling him not to do something good when it was in his ability to do something good. But Jesus was saying let’s use common sense here and choose to do good. Are we going to choose to just listen to “religion” just because or should you choose to do good simply because it is good and we know that God is good? And if we are within God and we have a relationship with God then we do God’s will. Jesus’ relationship with God told him to ignore the religious law and do good.
Relationship vs Religion: Case In Point
And for good measure let’s get into another example that was very similar in which Jesus healed a blind man and the religious folks got mad. And they got mad because once again Jesus chose to heal on the Sabbath that was against religious law.
Then some of the Pharisees said, “This Man [Jesus] is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner (a non-observant Jew) do such signs and miracles?” So there was a difference of opinion among them. Accordingly, they said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?” And he said, “[It must be that] He is a prophet!” John 9:16-17
You see they were so caught up in the Sabbath is a religious day that they MISSED it. That here was someone sent from God doing God’s will but because they were too caught up in religion and religious acts they are actually going against God. God is good and God wants us to do good things but the religious people did not see that they only saw what was according to the law, they saw themselves as their positions and they thought themselves better than Jesus because they were Pharisees?
They could not even understand that if God was giving Jesus the authority to heal the blind man that God must have had a good enough relationship with Jesus to let him do it. But no, and it was ultimately the “religious folk’s” that had Jesus crucified because their religion blinded them from God’s will. Because they were jealous, because they thought they were right, and because their position in their church gave them the impression that they were somebody and they failed to actually see what God was trying to do.
Whoever rejects Me and refuses to accept My teachings, has one who judges him; the very word that I spoke will judge and condemn him on the last day. For I have never spoken on My own initiative or authority, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment regarding what to say and what to speak. John 12: 48-49
3. Relationship Vs Religion ~ The whole point is for us to have a relationship with God
God is our father and like any parent, it was never God’s intention to be separated from us. When God created Adam and Eve and was in the garden of Eden walking and talking and chilling with them. This was always his intent for man. A close relationship in which man and God can be in close communication, that was until Adam and Eve had to ruin it by eating the forbidden fruit and communicating with the devil.
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool [afternoon breeze] of the day, so the man and his wife hid and kept themselves hidden from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8
And so with that whole fall of mankind business, when that happened man got more and more separated from God and it was harder and harder for man to hear from God hence why the rules were needed because if you read the Old Testament ( why God flooded the Earth and even destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) man was just straight-up evil and they did not know right from wrong.
I actually spoke about this in my devil series which you can watch the video below and click here to subscribe to my channel. NOW, when Jesus came through the power of the Holy Spirit we could once again talk to God and form a relationship with God which was the entire point of Jesus coming in the first place. Jesus had to come so that he could repair what Adam and Eve did and that was to separate us from God Jesus came to join us back to God.
Therefore, it was essential that He had to be made like His brothers (mankind) in every respect, so that He might [by experience] become a merciful and faithful High Priest in things related to God, to make atonement (propitiation) for the people’s sins [thereby wiping away the sin, satisfying divine justice, and providing a way of reconciliation between God and mankind]. Hebrews 2:1
And you can imagine when the Bible verse says reconciliation between God and mankind that is the one that was lost in the garden of Eden when God was able to walk and talk with mankind and all was lost when mankind decided to do the wrong thing. Jesus came, did what Adam and Eve could not (which was to resist the devil) and died for our sins and thus came the Holy Spirit which is the direct line for us to form that relationship with God that God wants us to have.
For God has unveiled them and revealed them to us through the [Holy] Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things [diligently], even [sounding and measuring] the [profound] depths of God [the divine counsels and things far beyond human understanding]. 1 Corinthians 2:10
So basically what I am trying to say in a nutshell is why would God jump through all these hoops to send Jesus to give us to Holy Spirit all for us to have a relationship IF it was not the MOST important thing on his list of things for us to have. Clearly, there is a clear indication that God wants us to have a relationship with Him. That is what the WHOLE NEW TESTAMENT is about. After Jesus died He released the Holy Spirit. And that is the direct line that we have to talk to God.
4. Relationship vs Religion ~ What is my Overall Point
There is an overall point to this and this is that I am a HUGE HUGE advocate of making a turn in having a relationship with God. We need to stop this holier than thou I go to this church or just because I am a Christian that gives me a right to act like a heathen mentality. Because guess what?
That is A LOT of Christians. And we have to stop these narratives that just because want to slap a title on who we are or labeling ourselves Christians that this is enough. It is not enough. A relationship with God is enough, that is the point, and you have to ask yourself which one are you doing. Which one do you have? And which one do you prioritize?
A relationship with God is not fake. It is not phony. It is not going to God and pretending to be someone that you are not. Because God can see all of that. God knows your heart and He knows your true intentions. So while you can pretend to be one way with the world, God knows the real you and what you do when no one is looking. You can go to church and pretend to be all godly but God knows who you are every day of the week.
And while none of us are perfect, when you start to work and form a relationship with God then He will start to change you. You will start to notice that the bad things you once wanted to do, you won’t want to do anymore. You will grow and God will change you and that is the art of a relationship with God. It is like having all the answers to the most important test of your life. God will help you through the test if you just ask to cheat off His paper. But before He lets you do that, you have to be his friend, have a good relationship, and he has to trust you.
But when you just try to take the test on your own without studying on try to cheat off God’s paper without knowing Him then that is when you fail. So if you are just choosing to be a Christian and not actually doing the relationship part the only person you are cheating is yourself. God when through a lot of trouble having the opportunity to have a relationship with you and if He went through all that trouble then the fuss must have been about something.
If you know someone who may want to read this post because they don’t know the difference between a relationship vs religion, then go ahead and share it with them and last but not least I highly suggest you check out my Spiritual Fasting Guide. I know whenever I fast that always gives me the guidance that I need to hear from God. Just click here or the picture below.