Christianity is a Relationship, not a Religion!
God created people to have a relationship with them. God is Spirit so we can’t see Him; but the Bible is His word which is spoken to us, and by that we are led. As we begin to obey God’s word 100%, and begin doing what we feel God has called us to do 100%, we are actually walking with God; following His word, and being led by His Spirit, just like the disciples did with Jesus: Follow Me! Of course, we fail from time to time being human, but we repent (turn from it), and determine not to do it again. This is being a Christian. We die to our fleshly desires and live for God in purity; which is when God hears our prayers and answers them. This is the relationship; we walk with God, and He walks with us.
God has been trying to show us this relationship right from the beginning. God created Adam and was longing for the relationship. At first it was just God & Adam walking together in the cool of the day. After a while, God noticed Adams need for a woman so God created her for him. Now Adam is so happy as he walks with God realizing God had done that to meet all of his needs. Suddenly, a little while later, they disobey God. Gen 3:8 says: They heard God walking in the garden and hid themselves. Adam & Eve hid themselves from God because they were guilty of sin. Their sin separated them from God and ruined the relationship.
This is what we need to realize as believers; we are not simply following a bunch of rules to gain a standing in some religion, but we are actually walking with God, and when we sin, we hide from Him and ruin the relationship! True Christianity is all about obedience and trust. The scriptures say: If you love Me, then obey Me; So, if we don’t obey, then we don’t love God. Faith is all about trusting that God’s word is true, and as we obey it with all of our heart & strength, and trust God with the outcome (for better or worse), we are walking with God. That’s having a relationship with God.
Gen 5:24 says: Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. Enoch walked in God’s statutes and in God’s ways and pleased God greatly. The thought of someone passionately walking with God and then disappearing from sight is amazing to comprehend. God grabbed Enoch from off the face of the earth because of the relationship they had; Enoch loved God, and God loved Enoch.
Gen 6:9 says: Noah walked with God. The people of his time had become so corrupt that God judged it all with a flood; But God noticed one person that He had a relationship with, someone who actually walked with Him and in His ways and created the ark to save him. God’s word shows us God’s desire for a real relationship with us.
Gen 17:1 says: I am the All-Mighty God, walk before Me, and be thou perfect. God was explaining to Abraham the need to obey God’s principles, and in return, he would receive all blessing and protection as a result of it. As we strive for obedience with all of our heart & soul, attempting to live perfect before God, the Lord provides for us and protects us. It’s like the scripture: seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all things will be added unto you. Dying to our will and our fleshly desires can be difficult, but it’s worth it.
Lev 26:21 says: If you walk contrary unto Me, and will not hearken unto Me…I will set My face against you! Send plagues… With God, you are either all in, or you are not in at all. This takes total dedication and commitment, and a refusal to ever give up. So much of supposed Christianity in the world today is delusional; they are fooling themselves. Living any way they want to, doing and saying anything they feel while still attending a church service is not Christianity. So many people wonder why God doesn’t seem to hear their prayers and answer them. They are unaware of their lack of a true relationship with God and are simply involved in a religion. This is breaking God’s heart! Pr 81:13 says: OH, that my people would…walk in My ways!
Col 2:6 says: As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, So, walk ye in Him. If we receive Christ, we receive Him as sovereign King, whom we are to obey and be subject to. The great concern we should have is to walk in Christ; to make our practices conformable to His principles. We have consented to be His, so we must walk with Him in our daily course and keep up our communion with Him. Our faith is a relationship with Christ who calls us to obey His example and encourages us to pray to Him daily. To become one with Christ, and one with each other; in faith.
Th 4:1 says: You ought to walk to please God. This is a loving and affectionate call to earnestly walk, in true holiness with God. It is not enough that we abide in faith and persevere to the end, but we should grow better and walk more closely with God. The design of the Gospel is to teach men not only what they should believe, but also how they ought to live; to regulate their temper and behavior. We are being taught how to walk, not how to talk. To talk well without living well will never bring us to Heaven. This is how we please God. Holy walking is most pleasing to our Holy God, who is gracious in holiness. This ought to be the aim and ambition of every Christian, to please God and be accepted of Him.
1Jn 2:6 says: He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself to walk even as He walked. The Lord Christ was an inhabitant of this world, and walked here below; here, He gave a shining example to absolute obedience to God. Those who profess to be on His side, and to abide with Him, must walk with Him, walk after His pattern and example. We must aim to resemble our infallible Master, and conform to His course. The Lord says, then are you my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you (Jn 15:14).
Jesus wants us to walk as He walked as to understand what it is like to be a true Christian. God’s Spirit wants to live in us and have a relationship with us. God is looking for three distinctive qualities when looking into our hearts, that make a way for Him to abide with us. God wants us to build Him a house to dwell in, and it is located in our hearts.
Isiah 6691&2)- Thus sayeth the Lord, The heaven is My throne, and the earth is my footstool; Where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest? …but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor, of a contrite Spirit, and trembleth at My word.
Even though God is being forthright and blunt with these loaded questions, it still seems a little cloaked in mystery at first glance; but a closer look makes it plain to see. Humor me for a second and let’s look at the same scripture this way. The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. (I have made heaven and earth so that my people would have an earthly and heavenly home to dwell in and find rest) Where is the home that you build for me? And where is the place of my rest? To this man (woman) will I look, to him that is poor, contrite, and trembles at my word. Suddenly it becomes clear, God desires us to build Him a home to dwell in, and it’s located in our hearts. (or nation)
Now before I even get started, we need to understand God’s grace. We don’t have to be perfect, because we are not and never will be. But we need to hold these values in the highest regard, and be giving it our best shot, God will do the rest. Let’s discus these one at a time so we can gain clear understanding.
God’s desire is to bless the world through His people, so financially poor is not what He is talking about.
Rev 3:17- Because thou sayeth, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor…
Because of their financial wealth, this church thought they needed nothing, but the Lord tells them they are needy beyond measure and blind to it. On this note, I would like to replace the word poor with a synonym that brings a clearer understanding of what God is attempting to convey. That word is “Needy”. People can be extremely wealthy, and yet still be very needy. We’ve all heard the expression, “money can’t buy happiness”. Those of us that struggle financially still think that a seemingly endless bank account would surely bring all the happiness that we would ever need. I know I sure do, but would it?
Jesus came to this earth for people in need. In Mt 19(16-21) Jesus opens the Bible on the day He began His public ministry and quoted Isiah 61, which says, I’ve come to heal the broken hearted, bring deliverance to captives, sight to the blind, set at liberty the bruised. Jesus came to meet needs.
Jesus became needy for us. In Mt 8:20, He basically tells the first disciples that He was homeless; foxes have holes, birds have nests, but I have nowhere to lay my head. Jesus became poor and needy for us; He made Himself of no reputation. This is how we approach God; He delights in this because it’s what He did for us. We must remain needy before Him
Remember when He was talking to the needy publicans & sinners? The Pharisee asked how he could do such a thing.
Mt 9- But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
You know that He said it with extreme sarcasm, because they needed Him more than anyone but were blind to it. This is one of the things that God needs to see in us, to feel comfortable in this home.
“A Contrite Heart”
Whose heart is truly contrite for sin, penitent for it, and in pain to get pardoned
- When Peter denied the Lord, He went out and wept bitterly. That’s being contrite
- When Job blamed God, He abhorred himself, and repented in dust & ashes. That’s being contrite
- When the Publican repented, He smote upon his breast saying be merciful- That’s being contrite
When our hearts truly break because of our negative actions, God comes close to us. He comes riding in on His white horse like the hero that He is and fights for us! The Lord is nigh to them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such.
We see two different ways of approaching Jesus through the two thieves crucified with Him.
- One says save yourself and us.
- The other says we have sinned, Jesus remember me.
Ps 51(16&17)- For thou (God) desireth not sacrifice; else would I give it…The sacrifices of God are a broken Spirit, a broken and contrite heart.
All God wants to do is help; He will forever be our loving Father desperately hoping we return to Him, our wellspring of life!
“In awe of God’s Majesty” (trembles at my word)
One who trembles at God’s word with a habitual awe of God’s majesty and purity and dread of His justice and wrath.
God’s word should be held in high regard because it is God.
Jn 1:1- In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.
One reason that we tremble in awe to God’s word is that it’s God and deserves the same reverence.
Jn 1:14- And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
This is the awe of Jesus, and the words he spoke; they are God, they are alive, and they have power.
Not everyone is moved by the ominous dominion and authority of God’s word; some take it lightly. Jesus told Pilot that He came to bear witness of the truth. Pilot replied, “What is truth”. (truth was what Pilot says it was, like our nation) When the Apostle Paul was finished speaking to Felix, he said “you almost persuaded me.
God wants to get close to us, but it is our careless disregard and disobedience to his word, that causes that special closeness to disappear at times. Now I tremble at His word for fear of losing that special closeness. Now my biggest fear is to be living my life in such a way, that I don’t even realize that the Spirit of God has left me, like Samson!
Jud 16(20&21)- Samson awoke out of his sleep’ and said, I will go out as at other times in the before…and knew not that the Lord was departed from him. But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes.
“The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”
So, this is how we as humans prepare our hearts for God to dwell in.
- We understand in our hearts, that we will always remain needy before God because He is our life spring. He is the very air we breathe. We have nothing without Him, and everything we have is from Him.
- We understand that our hearts will forever be broken & crushed with even the thought of being disobedient to God’s word, His direction, or His desires, which; let’s face it, will surely happen almost daily.
- Our hearts will continually be in “Awe” of God’s Majesty & Purity; and dread His Justice & Wrath; Trembling at His word. A Holy honor and reverence of the Thundering Voice of God Almighty, because that’s just who He is! I AM THAT I AM!!
Think of God for a second, as a person looking to purchase a new home; and when He sees a heart that is cultivating these three aspects, He says: “That’s Perfect! Just the one I’ve been looking for”! It’s not that we have become perfect, because we’re not and never will be. But our hearts will be perfect towards Him. God is desperately searching night and day, year in and year out’ for this kind of heart; so that He can show Himself strong in behalf of them.
2Ch 16:9- For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.
God is searching even now; peering into the heart and souls of men, women and nations! Nothing is hidden from Him! He sees our motivation and intent, our every feeling and thought.
- Will we prepare our hearts and allow God to stay?
- Will we build according to God’s plan?
- Will we begin to renovate our lives so that our loving Father in heaven, and His beautiful Son and Spirit feel comfortable living with us?
This Choice is up to us. Choose Greatness!
Choose God’s Abiding Presence!
A real relationship with God!
A Relationship, not a Religion!