How to Find a Relationship with God When You’re Tired of Religion

Super hero Christians really made me nervous when I was in college.

I remember once, while living at the fraternity house, going to church.  I can’t remember why, probably as a favor to my mom or to meet cute girls.

I showed up for the late service because of a party the night before.  I walked in blurry-eyed with a headache.  Organ music played, light streamed through stain glass, everyone looked perfect all dressed up .

I tried to slip into the back but nope an usher took me right down to the front.  Third row back in the middle of a packed pew, I couldn’t escape.

 

Cloudy Church

 

By the end of the sermon the preacher had people crying.  People next to me were praying out loud and loudly.  Then the preacher told people to come forward to get right with God.

The dam broke, a flood went down.  Half of my row emptied so I followed them out of the pew then bolted for the side door to escape.

On top of that, super hero Christians didn’t seem to have much fun.  No drinking or dancing, pretty much left out most parties.  Go to church every Sunday morning.  And then maybe God will send you to India as a missionary.  No thanks.

 

Frankly, I had enough problems of my own without adding a whole string more.

 

Yet, in me resided an emptiness that at that moment I never could have realized was a desire for a relationship with God.

I eventually discovered that relationship and that it nothing to do with rules based religion.

 

And that relationship  changed my life.

 

Paul writes, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

 

It’s not keeping rules but discovering God’s love and grace.

 

I discovered in that relationship peace. 

I struggled with worry and depression at times.  Suddenly I was flooded with a deep overwhelming sense of peace I simply can’t describe.

 

I was also filled with unexplainable joy. 

Not just happiness when things were going well but rather an underlying joy that life was different now and it was good.

 

And all of this because I felt accepted by God.

No I wasn’t perfect, far from it, but I didn’t have to be.  I was made right with him because of his grace not my actions.

 

Jesus said, “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him religiously unclean, but rather what comes out of his mouth.”

 

In short religious rules can actually drive us from God.  And I’ve found, even when in that relationship, it’s easy to slip back into rules based religion.

 

Yet I discovered through some successes and a lot of failures an antidote.

 

First, you have to want a relationship with God.

 

Then second, realize you can’t earn it no matter how many rules you follow.

We frankly don’t deserve it and never can.

 

Third simply ask to enter into that relationship and to be accepted as you are.

 

Fourth, stay in that grace and love God has given you.

It’s so easy to slip back into trying to earn God’s blessings by following a bunch of rules.

 

Fifth, keep reminding yourself that you never earned the relationship so you can’t un-earn it no matter what you do.

 

Sixth, remember God loves you as his child and delights in blessing you.

All our perfect actions won’t increase his love or our failures decrease it.

 

Through those things I’ve learn to stay in the peace, joy and love I so desperately wanted and finally discovered.

 

*Romans 14:17 (NIV), Matthew 15:11

Photo Credit: Astrid Westvang; Creative Commons