Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Religion?


What is religion?

I've been listening to a speaker recently who has nothing for religion. He grew up as a Mormon. I haven't been able to figure out what he believes about God.

I don't remember what he said that made me think, “Oh, you poor man! God is all about relationship, not religion.”

So many of us grow up in religion and miss relationship. Read the following definitions of religion.

  1. the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
  2. a particular system of faith and worship.
  3. a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance. (From a Google search of “what is religion?”)

Studyreligion.org says, Because it crosses so many different boundaries in human experience, religion is notoriously difficult to define.

Did you see anything in any of these definitions about relationship?

So while I don't know exactly what religion is, I tend to think it's a tactic of our enemy to keep us from a relationship with Jehovah. That has been his plan from the beginning. God had a relationship with Adam and Eve that I envy.

Along came Satan and tempted them to disobey. The relationship was destroyed.

But God wasn't caught broadside by this act. He knew it was going to happen and he had a plan in place. Jesus.

Jesus was in on the plan and was willing to be that means of getting the relationship back intact.

He came down to human level to try this thing over again. He suffered every temptation you will ever face and got the victory over it.

How did he manage that?

By a relationship with his heavenly Father. And that is the only way we can be victorious in this life.

Not by any religion. But by a relationship.

Jesus showed us that it was possible to have this relationship in spite of the enemy's efforts to destroy it and then he shed his pure blood to appease the wrath of God for my sin.

What ways do you think of that the enemy's tactics keep you from a relationship with your heavenly Father? Do you not find that Jesus faced it as well?

Temptation to disobey God's commands/will. It was the Father's will that Jesus died.

Temptation to say, I'm too busy. Jesus spent the night in prayer following and preceding busy days with people.

Temptation to feel all alone. Jesus’ closest friends left him in his hour of need.

Temptation to feel it's not worth it. Jesus’ physical strength could not have stood up to his schedule or tortures if he had to do it in his own strength.

What is your unique temptation? Is your relationship with your heavenly Father strong enough to carry you over, under or through if?

What incredible strength Jesus had! To face certain death with calmness, false accusations with silence and find that relationship with his Father severed in his death because of my sin - not his. He was indeed a perfect Lamb to take away the sin of the world.

His strength came from his relationship with God the Father. He was obedient and God helped him to do what He asked of him.

Disobedience severed the relationship for the first Adam. Obedience kept the relationship intact for the second Adam. And now your and my relationship can be restored.

Jesus promised that His spirit would live within us when we believe. The enviable relationship God had with Adam and Eve is surpassed by the relationship He will have with us.

Does this not thrill you?

Do you follow a religion?

Or do you live in a relationship?