Roadblock to a Godly Relationship.

The question I am about to ask will not be viewed as productive to people with a religious mindset.

Is religion a major roadblock to a vibrant, intimate relational relationship with God? I am of the opinion that it does.

I do not believe that the people caught in the religious trap intentionally hinder our relationship with God. But in their pursuit of religion and exploring what they perceive as truths and beliefs about God, as taught by their denomination sidetracks their focus and they fail to pursue God Himself. It is so easy to go to the Sunday-programmed-event-driven two hour meeting...it is so easy to pay your debt to God by the paying of tithes...It is so easy to participate in a twenty minute worship time...it s so easy to amen a preacher preaching denominated doctrines...instead of coming together as the community of the redeemed to encourage each other with a psalm, hymn and towards good works.

Denominational people have gotten the idea that we need to pretend to have it all together, because if we show our weaknesses and struggles and failures, we’ll become a denominational outcasts and many do not want that…and since so many people parade around in this religious mask, if one person does reveal their weaknesses, they’re looked down upon and not considered a member in good standing. This is opposite of the way believers are supposed to be. We are supposed to help each other, pray for each other, forgive each other, encourage each other and love each other!

To keep religion from becoming a distraction from God, make sure you are pursuing God instead of pursuing “beliefs” about Him through religion. We need to shed the cloak of religiosity for genuine relationship with God Himself. It starts with us! We are to love people, be open to people, and DO NOT CONDEMN people when they fail!

According to Micah 6:8, God desires this of us... “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Religion has changed the simplicity of God's desire to become a set of rules and traditions that is set in place to keep us from sinning. And if we follow these rules, we’re okay, but the act of the process of rule keeping has produced self-righteous believers, or what was called Pharisees. Over time, what people think of when they hear the word Christian has changed from “Christ Follower” and “Christ-like” to “Hypocrite”, Condemner and “Judgmentalism”…or, “Pharisees“.

Matthew 15:8-9 puts it this way...These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”

Following a set of rules is not being a true believer its being a Pharisee! We are in no way being a disciple if we don’t actually know the God we worship. That’s why we need to get past religion and get into a relationship status. In Galatians 2:21, Paul explains that righteousness cannot be gained by following a set of rules. “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

The grace of God is the only thing that gains us righteousness. The deeper we get into a relationship with Jesus, the one who loved us so much that he died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:6-8), the more His love and grace produces the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

A relationship with God which only comes from knowing Him, should be the focus of our life. We need to surrender ourselves to Him, and rely on His ability to maintain that relationship, not our own doing.

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