The Secret to....
Visit any religious bookstore and you will be inundated with self help books that reveals the secret to long life, wait loss, marriage restoration, self-esteem, self-love, the secret to good sermon preparation, the secret to good preaching, the secret to pleasing God, the secret to church growth, the secret to getting people to give ant the list goes on and on.
The religious system has led people to believe there is a secret to attaining an intimate relationship with God and through religious enlightenment from the religious elite preachers and writers, that secret will be found and will whisk them up into constant communion with God. Religion has been doing this since its conception and the secret is still elusive even with millions of self help books available. There is no secret to an intimate relationship with God, forget what religion offers and totally relate to Him depending on Him only, He is the initiator, the source and maintainer. God is the answer, not the self-help gurus or their books. Intimacy with God is not a spiritual state to achieve by the doing religious works, it is a relationship to develop and mature in grace. We are taught by religion to read the Bible more, pray for more faith, trust God more, strive to be holy, hunger for righteousness more, pay more tithes, go to church more but, all that doing just maintains a relationship with religion. Relationship is not about what we do, it is about who we know.
To listen to some religious groups though, you’d get just the opposite impression. There’s always a story of amazing success in prayer or some person claiming to have a direct line to the throne of God where He gives spiritual truth to the spiritual giant for the less spiritual ignorant pew-warmers. It can be confusing when the super spiritual guy on TV tells you his life is a constant stream of success and miracles. “And you could do it too!” they exclaim, “If you just had enough faith...” validated by the giving of money to them. It has also led people to have unrealistic (and unbiblical) expectations of God, focusing on emotions and self-fulfillment that has led to a great deal of disillusionment regarding God and spiritual matters. Our relationship is not dependent on our strength of faith, but on God and our learning to trust and rest in God’s love. Jesus taught that the poor in spirit were the ones to be admired and envied, not the rich; because the poor understand that we all need to rely on God, and not ourselves.
The Charismatic/Pentecostal movement has brought lots of focus onto experiencing God, unfortunately it has led many people to have unrealistic (and unbiblical) expectations of God, it has also led to an unbalanced focus on emotions and self-fulfillment that has led to a great deal of disillusionment and hurt in the Community of the Redeemed. Our relationship with God is not dependent on our strength of faith that is validated by religious doing, but entirely on God and our learning to trust and rest in His love and grace.