“Religion or Relationship”

Published 5:30 am Sunday, March 12, 2023

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I ran into a close friend from my high school this past week. We use to do so much together, back in the day. Life got us both busy and we kind of lost touch with each other. Seeing him again was great, but the relationship is so different now.  The relationship was still just as respectful to one another as ever, but now we are distant.

John writes about the church at Laodicea in his letter Revelation. The church was religious but had gotten casual with Jesus. Jesus knocked on the door of this church asking did they want a relationship with Him? A close relationship with Him, not a distant religion about Him. In the Bible we find Jesus wanting a relationship with us that is more than just casual. Jesus wants intimacy with us but we many stay distant and keep the relationship casual instead of close. Jesus invites us into a relationship with Him. Do you have a relationship or religion?

Religion is characterized by a respect for God. Here are some characteristics about religion. Religion is a substitute. It definitely isn’t a real relationship. Religion comes with a formula. Religion has rituals. Religion leads one to be judgmental. How many people have been hurt in the name of religion? Religion leaves one empty. God seems more like a stranger than a Father. Religion kills. Look at what ISIS is doing in the name of religion.

A relationship with Jesus is characterized by intimacy, a table for two. Revelation 3: 20, “I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.” Look at this list of what a relationship involves: a relationship involves personal time, personal transparency, and mutual submission. A relationship with Jesus is about just that, a relationship, not a religion.

Column is by Shannon Marshall.