Relationship vs. Religion

Religion is a poor substitute for relationship. Religion puts God in a box and only opens the box when it is convenient. And even when it is convenient, the box is never fully opened because religion likes to maintain control. Religion controls people instead of setting them free. If we look at the religions of the world, we see almost the exact opposite of what Jesus teaches, where people follow religious observances without any real understanding of why they do what they do. Sometimes, this is just as true in the Christian faith because it’s easy to fall into the trap of going through the motions. We were never designed to be religious, we were designed to be in relationship with our creator. It may seem strange to think about, but God doesn’t just wait inside the four walls of a church for someone to come to him. He is actively pursuing every one of us because his desire is to be in relationship with the ones he created in his image. It’s a relationship like no other on the earth and, when we pursue it, it transforms the way we think, act, and feel about everything. Following Jesus is more than just a list of observances. It’s a risk-taking life that requires a complete shift in the way we think so that God’s kingdom can be firmly planted on the earth. It’s a lifestyle of encounters with the creator of the universe that are profoundly impacting and, often times, completely unexplainable. It’s about partnering with the King of the universe to fulfill his plans for every person on the earth. When we are willing to put everything on the line so that others can have an encounter with him, the kingdom of God will show up in the most unlikely of places. Nothing is off limits. Wherever we go in life, if we walk with an expectation that God is going to show up, he will. Restaurants, festivals, job fairs, and parking lots are all great places to give people an encounter with God. Is it risky? Yes, but great risk brings great reward. We walk with an expectation of God showing up everywhere we go because we walk with an understanding that he wants to show up so much more than we want him to. It was his desire long before it was ours. But religion doesn’t bring these encounters. Only through relationship can we expect to see God use us in supernatural ways that bring about the impact the world needs. Pursue relationship, don’t pursue religion.

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