Religion or Relationship

Psalm 27:4One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.”

Man is religious about many things.

Health, diet, music, work, family, fashion, sports, and a myriad of other things. We follow those who epitomize that which we seek after. We dress like them, talk like them, go to the same places, listen to the same music, rearrange our life to seemingly allow the same outcome in our lives as they have in theirs.

Some will shun what they deem as detrimental to their goal and seek only that which effect the vision they call success. We call that focus. Today’s passage is David’s apparent focus on that which his heart desired above all else – to be in the presence of God.

Many accept religion as a satisfactory way of doing their spiritual ‘duty.’

But when presented with the biblical truth that one day they will face the God of Heaven and have to give an answer for the things done on this earth, they feel somewhat comfortable that their works will outweigh the sins they’ve committed.

Just as I would need a paid ticket to enter any venue, what must be paid for us to come Heaven is every single sin. To bear it ourselves would cost us an eternity in a place called Hell.

Revelation 20:14-15And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Many, in denial of the reality of such a place, say Hell is a myth; the Bible a book of fairy tales and all we see it the only truth they will believe. Billy Sunday, a famous baseball player turned evangelist said this:

“You won’t be in Hell five seconds before you believe there is one!”

Heaven will never be gained by what we do for it has already been done for us in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection are the payment needed for us to enter the holy place. Think of it – if Heaven could be gained by what we sinful creatures could do, then, why did Jesus have to die?

The value of the relationship we can have with the God of Heaven was summed up in the Father sending His only begotten Son for us.

John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

God seeks to have a relationship with us by making us His child.

John 1:12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”

The most important relationship you and I could ever have begins and ends with God.

Sadly, many a saved person will focus on the work as a way of pleasing God or gaining His favor. I am motivated to serve God in many things. Indebtedness, love, thankfulness, and gratefulness are just a few. God gives us a way to show that gratitude by earning rewards that when I see Him, I will have something tangible to give to Him to say “Thank you!”

But, doing the work of serving God without the focus on the relationship with God will be utterly unfruitful, frustrating, and cause me to quit because there is no joy in that kind of work. It is motivated by pride and will do more harm than good.

When a church focuses on the relationship, the work will be accomplished in fast order. The loving guidance of the Holy Spirit of God can and will shed light on a path the Father has chosen for us to follow. We may not understand it or even agree with it. Nonetheless, it is His choice for us.

Knowing I am a purchased possession of God, I yield myself to His will; not mine.

Focusing on the relationship opens lines of communication that makes prayer sweet, serving Him the highest joy, and becoming His witness the highest activity. Our relationship with the Heavenly Father fills our heart so much so that being a witness for Him is just allowing what floods my heart to overflow into my everyday life.

Often, when I forsake that relationship and walk out the door without even acknowledging His presence in my life, I come to regret ever doing so by having to face the day in the power of my own flesh. The Holy Spirit tugs at my heart to bow my knees and come to spend a moment in prayer.

The Word of God is often difficult to begin reading. But, once I do, God shows up to teach me, guide me, convict me, encourage me, and comfort me. Many a morning I have come tired, foggy, and indifferent and have left feeling light, empowered, and ready.

Come to the place where you value the relationship with your Heavenly Father so much, that you cannot live without Him. Keep that close to your heart, and soon, we will say like David:

Psalm 84:10For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

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