In better words, do you have a religion (dead god or idol) or a relationship (living God)?
You see, religion kills, starts wars, and oppresses. Religion fights for some and throws fire on others. This is all done in the "name" of God. So "who" is God? Which god? I mean, there are many that worship the sun, moon and stars.
In Exodus 3:13, Moses asks God what name he should give to his fellow Israelites. This God would bring them out of oppression from Egypt. God replies, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
God sets Himself apart from other gods. It is becoming clear why a name is highly important. Jesus was given the name above all names, and if you want to understand what the one true God does, then study Jesus, who was man and God.
Religion says, "Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth."
Jesus says, "Turn the other cheek."
The teachers of religion scorned, exiled and stoned sinners.
Jesus spent time with sinners, saving them from their sins.
Saul was the most sincere, devout religious teacher. He took it upon himself to enforce Jewish law in the name of God. This meant that many true Christians were murdered at the hands of Saul. I use the word sincere, to emphasize that you can be sincere in any of your convictions, but it doesn't mean you are right by God. Until one day on the way to Damascus, Saul was met by Jesus. "Why are you persecuting me?" says Jesus. You can read the rest in Acts 9:1-19. Saul's name was then changed to Paul (name importance), and he went on to lead the gentiles to Christ. He most importantly wrote 1/2 of the New Testament.
You can still believe in Jesus while oppressing others, starting wars, scorning sinners, in which lands you right back in the middle of religion. Religion keeps others from God, where relationship reminds the world that Jesus died for all. There's the difference between believing Jesus and following Jesus.
I think that we all have to check ourselves every so often and ask God to keep us on the side of relationship through Jesus Christ. Humans are a people of rules, where God wants to be our ruler. The Holy Spirit wants to guide us, but we feel the need for a formula. Our Father wants to be our daddy, but we want to replace His character with our human ideas of what a father should be and do.
Let's take God out of the box we so often put him in. And Christians, stop going to church to find God for your conscience. Rather, find God through His Word and others and take Jesus to the world. Remember, Jesus destroyed the temple, as the temple of the Holy Spirit is YOU, not a building. The bride of Christ, the church, is not the building but is the people and Jesus is the cornerstone.
What do you think about religion versus relationship?
Are you quick to judge others for whether they go to church or not?
Share Jesus. Not church.
Trust me. They will want to come to church when they are hungry and thirsty. That was me.
Relationship is God centered.
Religion is man centered.
He did all the work on the cross and "It is finished." The work is done, so just believe and trust.