Relationship, not religion

In this journey I have discovered a sad reality: religion is not relationship. My relationship with God and my salvation walk has always been largely religion, very little relationship. Let me explain.

I have always been caught up in the do’s and don’ts: do go to church on Sunday, do give your tithes and offerings, do your quiet time, do read your Bible, don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t get pregnant out of wedlock…etc etc. The why was never even a consideration for me, I just did what I was supposed to do, what I was told to do. It never occured to me that maybe God wanted more. He wanted my heart. He wanted an intimate relationship with me. He didn’t just want me to follow His rules, He wanted me to know why I was following them. And the why? The why is love. Because I love Him, I will read my Bible. Because I love Him, I want to talk to Him and pray to Him. Because I love Him, I want to know Him more, so I’ll have quiet time.

So for as long as I’ve been a Christian, I have followed His rules in a largely robotic fashion. Realizing that this did not please Him and that it could even have hurt Him hurts me. It also scares me because I thought I knew God, that I had a relationship with Him. I accepted Him in my heart because He died for me. I believed that and I still do. But somehow somewhere along the way I lost sight of love and embraced performance and “rightness”. Righteousness that is like filthy rags before God is what I embraced instead.

I didn’t know God. I didn’t know love. I have not been living as someone redeemed and loved. I’ve been living as someone condemned. Someone who needs to make amends ever day for being such a sinner. Someone who needs to appease this cruel God who will smite her at any moment if she fails, unless she does “overtime” in church or does an all-night prayer vigil. Does that sound like the God who is Love? It sure seems like He is a cruel master who punishes all who dare not follow His rules.

Yes, God has rules and commandments, but He is also Love. And He desires for us to Love Him and know Him and delight in Him and live abundantly in Him. He has given us all good things and has great plans for us. That’s the God I want to know. I have been stuck in the Law for so long. I’ve lived like someone condemned for so long, yet God sent His Son to die for me so I would be redeemed and have a clean slate. There is no price left to pay; Jesus paid it all for me on the cross.

I’ve been living like someone bound, but Jesus came to set the captives free. I’ve been living like someone who has to earn love, but He loved me before I was even born.
I’ve been blind for so long, but the scales are finally beginning to fall from my eyes. Now I’m beginning to get just what Love is. Who Love is. It’s mind-blowing…it leaves me in tears sometimes…and it’s the most exciting adventure I’ve ever been on.

Stick around 🙂


6 thoughts on “Relationship, not religion

    • I am/ was impressed.
      sikujua unaweza kua deep! 😀 and I see you have a lot more posts…*stops to pitch camp* now to read. hehe.

      back to the topic, I imagine what a works based salvation would mean if I had some great personal expectations of God and things went south?
      that would mean I’m free to look for an alternative because when its about rightness reciprocation is required. yet, God can never owe me anything.
      with love on the other hand, its like an abyss. no expectation, just loving. selah.
      Giving myself away to God in the most untamed way.

      • That’s a really interesting way of looking at it. I have had that kind of relationship, where I would do things and inadvertently expect things in return from God, and when they didn’t happen, I would get so disappointed but reason with myself that He is God and I am man and talk myself out of feeling wronged, but deep inside a seed of resentment would grow and keep growing as more and more expectations are not met. Then I would even work harder and harder to win His love or rather get what I wanted. It was so dysfunctional.
        I am just so grateful that He is gracious enough to want to teach me the most excellent way (that is, Love) despite all my wrong perceptions and motives then.

  1. A friend pointed me to the blog…

    I have to say, I relate with what you said… sounds like the same message echoed from the youtube video that has been goin round.

    For a true Christian, who needs Christ but is constantly bombarded with do this do that, and never with the transforming truth of the scriptures, this ‘religion’ does get exhausting and we reach a place where we say “I just want Jesus!”

    I do pray you find what your heart yearns for, that is Christ, Christ and more Christ. Our duty must flow from a deeper understanding of His love for us.

    You said: “I have been stuck in the Law for so long, yet Jesus came to abolish the Law.”
    Matthew tells us though, in Matt 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them”
    But I think what you were trying to say was in Rom 3:20 “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.”
    So we are not counted righteous by following the law, but having faith in Christ.

    Hope that my comment will shed some light on your adventure. I too am seeking Him. Christians help each other to the finish line. Hakuna compe 🙂

  2. Thanks directionman, I believe I was trying to say that faith supersedes the Law, I see I used the wrong words…and that our righteousness is filthy rags before God, so faith is what matters, not works. Sorry about that.
    Thanks for the clip too, I have heard so much about it, and for being a fellow brother in this body of Christ.
    May you find Christ as you seek him, coz as He says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”

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