Religion vs. Relationship (Part 1)
According to Merriam-Webster (m-w.com), religion is defined as:
- the belief in a god or in a group of gods
- an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods
- an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group
Many of us grew up with religion. We learned about God and we thought this was the same as actually knowing Him. Many people still think so. Does religion really provide what we need? Let us examine the definitions listed above.
Is it enough to believe in God? Even Satan knows that YHVH (God) exists. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder (James 2:19 NIV). Therefore, believing in YHVH does not set anyone apart even from Satan.
Participating in an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies and rules used to worship a god is much like being in a fan club. Members of the fan club devote their lives running from concert to concert or movie to movie, sharing newly-discovered facts on Facebook or Twitter, and day-dreaming about what it would be like to be with one’s idol. Obsession with an imaginary relationship distorts reality.
Relationship is defined by Merriam-Webster (m-w.com) as:
- the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other
- a romantic or sexual friendship between two people
- the way in which two or more people or things are connected
Relationship requires that individuals interact with each other. It is better to relate directly to YHVH than to merely acquire facts and opinions about Him. YHVH created us to have a close relationship with Him. He has no use for religion which is a poor substitute for a personal relationship. Yeshua paid a heavy price to restore our broken relationship with His Father. YHVH desires to be close to us and to love us.
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them (John 14:23 NIV).
Our relationship with YHVH is even more intimate than a sexual relationship since YHVH knows our thoughts, motives, and intentions even when we don’t know them ourselves. He knows our deepest needs and desires and responds to them in the most loving way. When we seek YHVH’s face rather than His hand, He will reveal more of Himself to us. We can relate to YHVH on a deeper, more personal level than with any human on earth. Why settle for a dismal substitute when you can have the real thing?