Saturday, January 13, 2018

It's About Relationship, Not Religion

a bracelet I often wear

Read my Bible ✔
Put money in the offering bucket ✔
Dress up in my Sunday best and attend church ✔
Read a Bible story to my kids ✔
Know all the Ten Commandments ✔

Those are all great and grand but....

Matthew 23:1-39 ESV 
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. 

Just because you claim to know Jesus doesn't mean you actually do.  You can know and recite the laws all day long but what really matters is where your heart is in relationship with Christ.

I was a tween when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  That's always the first step.  I attended my fair share of Vacation Bible School and church camps.  And I'd go to Sunday school when I could catch a ride. 

It wasn't until my adulthood, about six years ago, that I learned being a believer is more than automated motions.  I can say The Lord's Prayer day in and day out, but it doesn't mean much if I do it just to "check it off the list". 

Jesus, of course, wants all of us to enter into the kingdom of Heaven.  John 3:16 is the Gospel in a nutshell.  You have to believe and confess Jesus as your savior.  That's just the beginning.

You don't have to believe in Jesus and just leave it at that.  As the Senior Pastor at my church says, it's about having "an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus Christ".  (although I admit I'm weirded out about the word intimate in the same phrase). 

Jesus wants us to:
LEAN on Him
RELY on Him
TALK to Him
and so much more.

Jesus is not some abstracted character that can't be bothered by you.  He wants to be a part of your life, all of it.  Although you can't see our great Lord, you can talk to him and rely on him like He's your closest confidante.  Don't be afraid to be real and be raw with Jesus.  Reach out, even during the darkest of times. 

Doing all the "check mark" stuff is secondary to having a personal relationship with the one who created you.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

*You are encouraged to post your comments with your opinion on the matter, but please refrain from posting comments that are hurtful or snide in nature.*


Margaret said...

I love this post. My SS lesson tomorrow is about forging ahead and being faithful. This lesson was timely and so are your words

Shelly Leatham said...

First, I want to say thank you for this post. It is so nice to see someone who is not afraid to post something like this. You are 100% correct, it is all about the relationship!

God Bless You!

Kimberly M. said...

Unfortunately this is so true. I find many non-believers can't accept the Lord not because they have ever read the Bible, gone to church, etc but because they see many who call themselves christians not acting like a true believer. Although christians are human and are not Jesus they have to be more Christ like in order to get others to come to the Lord. A christian is sometimes the only Bible some will ever read in order to learn of his divine love--we need to live our lives so that when they do read the chapter we put forth as christians--it's an outstanding, awesome chapter.

AiringMyLaundry said...

I think it's great that people believe! I am personally agnostic, but I never poke fun at those who do believe in things I might not.

SueZH said...

I try my best and think that I am a thoughtful, good person but still human. I do pray for stronger faith.

Unknown said...

Exactly! Well said!