Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Relationship vs. Religion

 by Sam Nobles
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  (2)  Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.  (3)  I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.  (4)  You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace (Galatians 5:1-4 ESV)

In the days of the early church, Judaizers, those who lived according to Jewish customs, were attempting to distort the message of the cross by pressuring new Christians to conform to external religious observances. The Judaizers in Galatia were attached to the religious rules of the Old Testament, but they did not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Focus On Your Relationship With Christ
Whenever religious activity trumps a relationship with God, the power of Jesus is no longer experienced in a believer’s life. Religion is anything you do for God that does not stem out of a heart connected to God. Religious activity can sever us from Christ’s strength, intimacy, and power.

Recently, I was asked to write a research paper for one of my classes. I performed my due diligence and analyzed all of the arguments. All of my hard work had me feeling great about my paper, but when I got my grade back it was a zero. The professor was nice enough to tell me why I got such a poor grade. He said, “Great work. Great preparation. Wrong assignment.” Somehow I had gotten my wires crossed and did the wrong thing. It wasn’t that I hadn’t done great work; it was that I had done great work on the wrong assignment. I researched the wrong topic, and as a result, I didn’t get credit for what I had done.

Serve The Lord Out Of Love Instead Of Duty
Christianity is no different. It’s not that there aren’t a lot of people doing a lot of excellent things like attending church, helping the hurting, or saying all the correct spiritual words and phrases. It’s just that they’ve missed the cross. They’ve missed Jesus Christ, and then they wonder why they aren’t experiencing any victory, power, hope in their life. External observances, the rules of religion, can actually get in the way of a relationship with Jesus. God wants your morality, prayer life, dedication for Him and all else to be predicated on your relationship with Him rather than on religious duty. Don’t be defined by what you do – be defined by whose you are, be defined by knowing Jesus.

Scripture to Claim:

Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? (Galatians 3:2 ESV)

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