As I wrote about in the first part of this series, my prayer has been and continues to be that God would break my heart for what breaks His. I am learning more each day about what that prayer truly means. God has been opening my eyes to what His heart consists of. Each part of the series talks about the different things that this prayer means in my life.
Trading Religion for Relationship
“Religion is trading in the Real Thing for a false sense of security. It is swapping a true relationship for rules and regulations, which will never quench the thirst of the soul.” This is something that came to me while doing a writing exercise in my creative writing class this past semester. It was something inspiring that showed up between many pointless and somewhat humorous things I was writing.
Religion is one of the things that I believe is ruining this generation’s idea of faith. Believing should no longer about the label we give ourselves or others, but rather about the the personal relationship we each have with Christ. We no longer refer to someone as a follower of Christ, but a “Christian”. We put that title in quotations because there are so many Christians who are falsely living out how we are called as true followers to live. We judge when we are called to accept. We hate when we are called to love. We are easily angered when we are called to be slow to anger. We use coined terms and sentences when we are called to speak through the Spirit. We talk when we are called to listen. I say “we” because I, too, am guilty of these things. What I want to know is how this happened, what changed?
Of course, no religion has ever been perfect. There are on-going struggles and challenges. Their concepts are constantly changing and are slowly evolving each day. This is what makes riding off religion and focusing on relationship so difficult. There are always so many things that can be discussed when religion is the topic. With so many religions swirling around in our universe, comes so many different opinions.
First off, I don’t believe we are supposed to argue these petty things, but rather respect the opinions of others. Something I have learned from experience is that the best way to win someone to Christ, is not to argue or tell them right versus wrong, but to love.
Also, religion is not about living as closely to the boundaries as possible. I’m not saying boundaries are bad, but if God is not the center of those, they are pointless. We lose the purpose in all of this if we ignore Christ as the center. I think each person needs to seek God in reference to boundaries. Everybody has different temptations and trials. Everybody struggles with different things. If God created each of us differently, how can we throw a blanket over one specific religion and call those followers all the same? How can we claim one religion to be correct, while another to be false?
Instead, if we throw away the aspects of religion and focus on relationship, everything changes. We no longer stress and argue about the small things. Instead, our hearts fight for the hearts of others because we so much so want to see them know Christ the way that we know Christ. Our focus belongs to God and His heart rather than our beliefs and the beliefs of others.
I believe in Christ because I have seen Him work. I have seen His promises come true right before my eyes. I have received blessings through others, because of Him. I see His provision as part of my daily life. I see that He has a plan for every single person. Although it may seem blurry or frustrating at times, He always at work in some way.
I think in order for my light to shine into the darkness of others, I must focus on my relationship with Christ, rather than religion. Religion is dead, yet it continues to blind. It is no longer used to inspire and encourage us, but to keep us from growth. Relationship is alive. Relationship is what transforms.
I pray that as I continue to seek relationship over religion, that you could join me. Some of you already have, and that excites me. Some of you are on the fence, which I understand that jumping off is scary, but I can promise you it is worth it. There is nothing more freeing in life than to live in loving relationship with Christ rather than in the hard rules of religion.
Have a blessed day!