Religion or Relationship
By, Lysandra Osterkamp
“Yet to all who received Him, He gave the power
to become sons of God to all who believed in His name.”
“And because you are sons, God has sent forth
into our hearts the spirit of His son, crying,
“Abba, Father!” Therefore, you are no longer a servant,
but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Evonne believed for forty-five years of her life that she had a good standing with God. She was mostly secure in her religion. She was raised from birth to go to her church, listen intently to the speaker, say certain prayers, give money, and to be a good person. This was the religion that was ingrained into her from the start. It became a big part of who she was; it became her identity.
If you talked with Evonne, she was quite confident in the way she was living her life. She would tell you she had no doubts. The truth was, sometimes in the quiet of the night she did have questions. “Am I in the right religion? Every other religion thinks theirs is the right one. Am I good enough? Have I gone to church enough? I know I’m a good person, but am I a good enough person for God?”
Evonne was had put all her eggs in one basket, so to speak. She gave herself fully to her religion and found that there was still a lack of peace. She hoped if she had religion she’d be accepted by God. Concerning her religion, she was all in. She checked all the boxes. She was committed, yet not confident.
Evonne was trusting her religion rather than a relationship. God wanted a personal relationship with Evonne that would take care of all her doubts and give her a peace and confidence for which she so desperately wished. God desires a relationship with you that is personal and unquestionable.
The reason there isn’t peace and confidence in religion is because religion is dependent on you and me. A relationship is dependent on God. God or humans; we all know in our hearts who is more trustworthy. God is!
Once we put our belief in Jesus and receive His free gift of salvation, we become a child of God. That is not religion; that’s a relationship. He becomes our Father. We become His child. John 1:12 shows us how this is possible. “Yet to all who received Him, He gave the power to become sons of God to all who believed in His name.” Can you see from this verse on whom this relationship is dependent? The relationship is dependent on God. He gives the power to become His child. You can trust Him. You don’t have to work at it. He has done it all. Just accept Him; accept the invitation to believe and receive, then become His child. This is the most intimate relationship you will ever experience. There is nothing better than having a beautiful, personal relationship with God.
Evonne eventually was shown the difference in religion and relationship. She accepted Jesus and became a child of God. She rejected her religion as her way of salvation. Once she experienced a personal relationship with Jesus, her doubts disappeared. Her constant work to earn God’s favor ceased and she could simply enjoy the intimate relationship with her Heavenly Father. She now found her identity in Christ, not in her religion. Doubts and anxiety were replaced with peace and joy. She no longer lie awake at night with worries and questions.
What are you trusting in to save you? Are you chasing religious rituals as your salvation? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? Have you accepted Him as your Savior, rejecting all else? Are you a child of God?
If there are any doubts or questions in your mind, get it settled today. Accept Jesus gift of salvation. Then enjoy the relationship!
Religion leaves you working to be good enough, relationship leaves the work to God who is already enough.