By Rachelle Green
I often hear the words, “Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship.” Sometimes we toss around phrases and they lose some of their significance… But what does that really mean? What’s the difference between religion and relationship?
Often we look at the example God sets, if you’re anything like me, you may feel this enormous weight that lives in the gap between what I should be and what I am. We may say to ourselves, “I’m not perfect,” but we still feel like we have to constantly struggle for the ideal.
Someone recently said to me, “Believing is obeying.” Whatever we believe, we will naturally act on. This is the frustration of religion. We cannot change our hearts through actions. We change our actions by changing our beliefs.
An example is a wife who devoutly loves her husband. It doesn’t matter what situation you put her in, she will be faithful to him. She doesn’t have to memorize her vows- her vows reflect her heart.
On the other hand, there is one who finds herself unloved and struggling in her own affections. She will be vulnerable when a handsome man, who finds her desirable, comes into the picture. So to, many women long to do the right thing, yet wake up, and realize they were unable to keep their vows. What happened? The fires of the heart were left to wane. Deep in the heart, affections wandered, before the body ever did.
It’s the same with sin. When we know how great God is, nothing in the world compares to Him! No temptation will draw us, when we are enraptured by Christ! If you want to be faithful to God, look deeply into who He is. Let your heart find its joy in Him! Let your desires be satisfied, by the Heart-Maker. The heart is the seat of our thoughts, emotions, and will. The combination of thought and emotion stir the fires of motivation, and our actions bear the fruit of what was conceived in the heart. The Bible says, “Guard your heart, for out of it, flow the issues of life.” (Prov 4:23)
It seems when you approach God through the cross, you are free to come to Him on the basis of His perfection, rather than your failures. You are free to gaze deep into excellence, to worship Him, to love Him. When you approach God through religion, your focus is yourself: How can I please God? How can I be better? What do I have to do to gain His approval?
There is a reason He calls himself a father. Do fathers correct their children? Yes, but that correction comes wrapped up in a package of love and commitment that is rivaled by no other human relationship. A father will work his fingers to the bone to provide for his family. He will sacrifice for the ones he loves. A father will invest in his children. A father will be there through every situation. He will teach, guide, encourage. A dad will suffer when his children suffer and rejoice in every success. He will protect, love, inspire and be faithful to his children. He will do it every day of his life.
Does He love them only when they live up to his expectations? Unfortunately, many dads make this mistake and maybe that is where we get this skewed idea of approaching God. Father God is not like that. He knows that when we really begin to know Him and His love that we will relate to Him and to others the right way.
When our hearts are filled with all the truth of what God has done for us, we will be putting on the robes of righteousness and taking off the rags of vain works. We will be dressed in the wedding garments. It is time to come and sit at the Father’s feet and listen to Him. Seek Him. Know Him. There is nothing greater in this life than the Maker of souls, universes, wisdom, heaven, and all created things. His beauty is infinite. His love a force, stronger than any darkness. He is our home… The breath from which we were created… The Father our orphaned souls desperately need.♥