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 🙂