Are you into religion or relationship? For me, I’ll take relationship every time!
I realize that, for many, that may seem sacrilegious or contrary to everything they have ever heard. Religion just for the sake of religion is a dangerous thing! The 6th chapter of Mathew talks at length about the religious Pharisees who lived by all of the rules and did things to be seen by others. It’s super clear that Jesus wasn’t happy with them!
While I’m sure none of you are Pharisees, it can be easy for us to fall into the trap of “religious righteousness.” Trust me, I speak from years of firsthand experience of being one of those people. I spent many years of my life doing all of the “right” things in the name of rules and religion. Sadly, so much of the time, this was done at the expense of the most important thing: a real relationship with God.
I grew up being taught by the church that, if we didn’t do this and we didn’t do that, we weren’t serving God properly. I was really pretty good about keeping the rules, but at the same time, I was never good enough. The emphasis was on trying to be perfect. So, with any flaw at all, I wasn’t “good enough.” This was the only way I knew at the time, but looking back, it was a hard way to live. It was hard for me, and I applied the same standards to others far too many times.
Thank God for relationship! As the years rolled on and I was exposed to more teaching, I was given the amazing gift of relationship over religion.
No matter what your version of a relationship with your earthly father has looked like, you can have a relationship with your Heavenly Father that is amazing! Our Father in Heaven longs for an intimate relationship with you. Mathew 11:28-30 (MSG) says it like this:
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. “I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
I would encourage you to run away from “religion” and run to your Father! It changed my life and the life of my children!
Written by Shannon McAbee
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on watermarkedministries.com
Featured Image by Ben White