“He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.”– John 1:10-13.
If you conducted some street interviews and asked people what comes to your mind when they think of religion, what do you think their answers would be? I think you could expect to hear answers like: “religion is a set of rules, regulations, and obligations” or “religion is a group of trying to do the right thing and not do the wrong thing” or “religion is an organized system of beliefs and ceremonies used to try to get right with God.” I wonder how many people would believe that religion is basically a “deep, intimate relationship with God?”
We need to put our trust and faith in Jesus Christ. I believe our Lord died so we could have a living, vital relationship with Him, not just to institute a bunch of rules and regulations. That’s what separates religion from a relationship with God. Jesus came to set us free and give us the opportunity to live in a relationship with our Heavenly Father. No hoops. No checklist. No religion required.
For some Christians, a relationship with Jesus consists of praying to Him and going to church on Sunday. They allow Jesus to be a sacrifice for their sins, but the relationship with Him stops there. They don’t really expect to have much of a relationship with Him, and therefore, in fact, do not. Such relationships with Jesus can, at best, be described as “distant.”
Christianity is about living a vibrant, exciting life in Christ. Growing in your relationship with Jesus means to know Him better and to love and obey Him more. When the Holy Spirit directs your life, you experience a deeper relationship with God and you will grow in your ability to trust Him. Not only that, your growing love for God will lead you to obey His commandments.
To that end, I encourage you to take a fresh perspective on your relationship with God. Take inventory and ask yourself why you do what you do. Is it out of obligation? Or is it because you love the Lord and desire a radical friendship with Him? A radical relationship with God is one that is rich, meaningful, and life-changing. 1 John 3:1 says, “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.”
- What stands in the way of deepening your relationship with Jesus?
- What can you do this week to begin to overcome those obstacles?