Religion can’t give us an intimate relationship with God. It just isn’t wired that way.
I know you’re probably wondering, “But I thought that’s what religion is for?”
Or you may be thinking, “I think this guy’s lost it.” Which would not be the first time someone’s said that.
But religion is simply incapable of much more than introducing us to God.
Now I’m not saying a person can’t have a saving relationship with God through religion. But I am saying a person dedicated to religion often won’t have the intimacy with God we may desire.
Because when you think about it, religion is dedicated to finding our way to God through strict observance of rituals and stringent belief in doctrines.
Even many evangelical churches I’ve attended, who would claim they’re not that way, have their own set of rituals and doctrines that are just as sacrosanct as orthodox churches.
And let’s face it, we simply can’t follow all the rules perfectly enough to qualify for an intimate relationship with God.
As well as intimacy just doesn’t work that way in human relationships either.
Can you imagine a marriage built on following rules and rituals? Yeah, you may be married and function but it’s going to feel a little icy. Intimacy is emotional connection not obedience.
So how do we have that kind of relationship?
Simply the way Jesus told his disciples to. He said, “Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me.”*
In other words, as we accept God’s words offering us a relationship with him we’re accepted as his child. Pretty simple. No religion needed here.
So am I saying you don’t need church? Not really. Absolutely go to fellowship, grow and enjoy life with others. But that’s way different than going to prove yourself.
And what does that relationship look like?
Here’s where it gets fun.
First, we have an intimate relationship with Jesus. He was God in skin. Someone we can relate to and chat with. Someone we can feel close to and feel his closeness.
Second, we become a child of the Father. He created the universe and loves us enough to use that power in our lives. He created us for an amazing life and leads us into it.
Third, the Spirit indwells us. He changes us from the inside into the person we really want to be. He guides us and fills us with the same miracle working power Jesus and the early disciples had.
Pretty complete I think. That’s the kind of intimate relationship with God I want.
We can discover an intimate relationship with God but it comes apart from religion.
How have you experienced this?
Please let me know on Facebook, Twitter or email me. Thanks.
*Matthew 10: 40 (NLT)