Many times religion is confused with relationship. For example, I had known religion all my life, but I didn’t know relationship. I had been living the lifestyle, reading the scriptures/books, going to church, praising God to “feel good”, and I wondered why it never stuck. I wasn’t always happy, or I didn’t just jump to pray at any given moment, I had no real confidence. It wasn’t until I experienced what a relationship with my Heavenly Father was like that I started to really be able to live the Christian lifestyle. When I really FELT that intimacy with God, He became real to me in that moment, and it changed my life forever. I had one of those experiences where God broke me down to nothing, just so He could rebuild me up into something even more incredible than I could ever imagine. The situation is so hard to explain in human terms, but in a nutshell it went like this; I was in a very low place (mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally), I went to the altar and said, “God please take it all away. I surrender, I give up, I’m done running.” I could feel the complete transformation, literally! It all happened in an instant, and time seemed to not move at all. It felt like I was at the altar for about 30 minutes, but it was probably only 5 and I felt my heart change in 2 seconds! When I left that altar, I began to seek to know the God I serve on that level. Nothing less. Ever since then, I have experienced God in greater & more maginificent ways than that. I’m not saying I see Him move in others lives, no, I’m seeing Him in my own life. He is moving in situations that are specifically tailored to me. We began a relationship. The thing people misunderstand, and I see it a lot now is that relationship comes first, and the things that come along with a Christian lifestyle will come! I don’t sit around and think, “Hmmm what would a Christian do?” or “Christians don’t do that so I can’t”. It has become ME, it IS my lifestyle; It’s not just “God’s plan for me”, it’s “God’s plan for me is MY plan for me”. When His spirit dwells in you, it is not a religious act, it’s the manifestation of a relationship. Not only that, but joy is MINE. Forgiveness is MINE. Love is MINE. Prosperity is MINE. Righteousness is MINE. Peace is MINE. It doesn’t just come and go and visit on the weekends, it’s a part of who I am and a part of my inheritance as a child of God. It “sticks” with me now because it’s real. It’s real. It’s real.
It saddens me sometimes to think there are so many people living a Christian lifestyle, falling over & over. They can’t see God in their lives, and they wonder, well what am I even doing this for? Well, living for God will be pretty hard when you’re living without God. We must seek to know the God we serve. We must get to know Him! One of the best ways is praying & reading the Word. Inviting the Holy Spirit in. Repent and truly repent. Experience His presence. There are many ways actually! I always tell people, don’t focus so much on what you can do or what you can’t do, that will come; focus on His love, what He rebuilds, what He restores, what He makes new, your new man, joy, inner peace, etc. Set your gaze on the Heavenly Father, renew your mind, and let Him reign in your life; then you will reign in this life.
One thing I heard someone say, and it will always stay with me when it comes to relationship & living for God, and it sums up everything I tried to say (LOL)…
“God’s love will make you do right”.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders & the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer & perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, & sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
2 Cor 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light & momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.