Relationship With God Vs Religion: What Is the Difference?

Having a relationship with God is the foundation of Christianity. However, many Christians practice religion-a set of manmade rules concerning what is right and wrong. Religion also involves performing right actions without knowing why they are important. There is no faith, love or meaning behind the action. It is simply done out of tradition.

For instance, some people attend church faithfully every week. Attendance has nothing to do with fellowship with other Believers or hearing and receiving the Word of God. They may be going out of duty and obligation. Attending church is something they may have done all their lives. It is their tradition. If that is the case, attending church will not profit them for the purpose is lost. Some Christians are so caught up in their tradition they can’t hear God’s voice.

I left church early one Sunday because the Lord told me to. I don’t ever leave service before it ends but that particular Sunday the Lord had something for me to do. I argued at first. It felt “unspiritual” to leave but I did. I ended up assisting an elderly woman who lived in my neighborhood with an important matter. Later I realized I was PRACTICING church.

Here’s something else I want to bring out about religion: hypocrisy. Many Christians are actively involved in ministry and yet harbor resentment and bitterness. Others enjoy stirring up strife. What good is your ministry if you allow these ungodly attitudes to live in your heart?

The Christian life is not about looking pious on the outside. I mentioned earlier that it’s about relationship with God. That means acting like Jesus. Romans 2:29 sums up my point. I like the way it reads from the New Living Translation:

“No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.”

A change of heart produced by God’s spirit is what God wants. This is what a relationship with God brings about.

Having a relationship with God creates a desire to obey God’s Word. This obedience flows from a heart of love for God and your desire to please Him.

Having a relationship with God is also about two people walking in agreement. Each is concerned for the other. There is communication and listening to one another.

I want to urge you to develop a relationship with God. Spend time reading the Bible each day. Have heart to heart talks with the Lord throughout the day. Get Him involved in everything you do. You’ll begin to see Him show up. He’ll lead and guide you.

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