I had the opportunity to preach a message on yesterday, “from religion to relationship,” and it made me realize the many of us who have yet to form a relationship with God. Oh, we got the look down but not the link. We talk religion but we are terrible at relationship and I think its fear of commitment. I know because it took me getting older to see all I really had was the pattern of church but no purpose. I would get up on Sundays and dress to look like church folk. Join in worship pretending as if I belonged but then I’d leave still full of hell but I had religion. I’d sing in the choir and turn around and cuss folk out but I had religion. I’d be involved in programs but I’d walk by somebody I didn’t like without speaking but I had religion. I’d gossip about the same folk I just worshiped with but I had religion. But having religion wasn’t getting me anywhere because I was being used by the enemy and I knew it. In the world, I was smiling and going home to my sunken place but I could play the part of religion well. I would sometimes cry myself to sleep because I was drowning in debt but I wore religion well. I got good at playing religion yet had I died, I probably couldn’t have even recognized Jesus. Here I was, faithful to religion but failing at having a relationship with God.
And if I can be honest you are the same. You got religion down but no relationship. This is why you can easily give up when suffering starts to hurt, why you don’t trust God like you should and the reason you can easily cheat with the enemy. There is no commitment because there is no relationship. If there was, you wouldn’t run when times get hard. Yesterday, I used the analogy of religion being like dating and relationship like marriage. When you are dating, it is easier for you break up because when you’re married, there is a piece of paper that binds you that usually takes a judge to dissolve and with dating, there isn’t. Sure, you believe in God but that’s just religion because if you were in a relationship, your belief would show. Why do you think there are exchanging of vows, rings and the last name in a marriage? You are now letting folks know you are in a committed relationship. Can folk tell you are in a relationship God? Is it evident by your walk, talk and living or are you still in the dating phase? At some point, you’ve got to commit and take this thang from just dating (religion) to marriage (relationship.) When you do, you reap the benefits of having your name changed to favor and a partner to be there when you need Him.