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True Relationship Not Religion

I know many people have said that Jesus is not a religion. It’s about having a relationship with Him that truly matters and that is exactly right. Sometimes, if we are not careful we can slip into religious behavior such as if we don’t read the Bible today because we were caught up in a million different things that somehow God is mad or disappointed with us.

If our relationship with Jesus was based on the amount of work we did for Him, then it’s not a true relationship, it’s a works-based relationship or a conditional relationship. But what does the Bible say? That God is filled with unfailing love and faithfulness (John 1:14). He loves us unconditionally, meaning it does not matter how hard we work to impress Him because He loves us no matter what. Jesus died on the cross for us all and that is a love like no other.

I am not here telling you that you should not read the Bible because the Word of God is alive and active, and helps us to grow in our walk with the Lord. However, I am saying that when life happens, the Lord understands. It’s important to pick ourselves back up and get back on track with the Lord instead of condemning ourselves. He also looks at the heart while others look at the outward stuff. Unfortunately, you can know the Bible cover to cover and not have a heart directed towards the Lord at all. How come? Because there was no relationship established. There’s a difference between knowing of the Father, and actually knowing Him personally. It’s important to have both perspectives.

Can I be transparent for a moment? This was something I had to deal with. I love the Lord with all of my heart, but I found myself getting upset with myself if I wasn’t able to read the Word for an hour on certain mornings. I actually felt very stressed until one day I began to cry and said to the Lord I don’t want to be hard on myself anymore. It hurts me and I can’t do it to myself anymore. What happened here? I slipped into religion. I slipped into a work-based relationship and forgot that the Lord already loves me so much that reading the Word and studying, and praying are added to the relationship. My wonderful husband had to remind me of this. He said something that stuck with me.

He said, “how much can we do to get God to love us? Ok, we read 4 hours today, but is that enough? The next day we read for 6 hours, but is that enough? What is enough? That’s why works-based is flawed. There’s no amount of work that you can do to gain His favor and His love. He already loves you, and in Christ, you are His beloved daughter. It’s not about what you can do, it’s about what He already did for you on the cross.” Hallelujah! Aren’t you thankful for this?

I am here to remind you that yes, opening the Word of God and praying is very crucial to your walk with the Lord, but talking to Him daily, communing with Him, and having God first in every part of your day is what matters to the Lord. He wants to see you rejoice, and be happy. That is His complete will for you! Don’t beat yourself up if you couldn’t pray the way you wanted to this morning. Instead, thank the Lord and praise Him through the day, and when you have the opportunity to read the Word do so, take some time to pray, and do it because you love the Lord, not out of obligation. Always remember that the Lord loves you no matter what!

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