God has been putting the word "religion" in front of me for several weeks now. It first started with a quote from Bono that said:
"Religion is what you have left when the Holy Spirit has left the building."
Then a few days later, I was preparing my lesson for church to lead the K-5 service. This stood out to me:
"Religion is about our attempt to reach God. The Gospel is about the truth that God
reached out to us. God is not about religion, He is about relationship."
There's that word again—religion. In both of these quotes, we see that religion is about us doing something, following rules, and not relying on the indwelling Holy Spirit that fills each and every believer. The Holy Spirit is how believers experience God. It makes Him known to us, to know scripture is truth, and to be able to apply it. He expects believers to follow the Spirit's leading. That honors God. Here we see how the apostles followed the Holy Spirit's leading when Matthias became an apostle.
Acts 1:24-26 "Then they prayed, 'Lord, You know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two You have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.' Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles."
I hear people say or I see on message boards "Well, I am not religious." I think the word religion can have a lot of negative connotations, and it does not necessarily draw people to Christ. As the quote said above, God is not about religion; He is about relationship. He is not about a list of rules. Yes, He wants us to obediently follow Him as His Word leads us but it's not about following a list of rules. We have a relationship with Him, and we serve Him and obey Him because we love Him not because we are following a list of rules. Our joy is in our relationship with Him not by following a religion. He created each and every person on this earth. The power of God's indwelling Holy Spirit and our relationship with Him completely transform us not a religion.
Genesis 1:27 "So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them."
Psalm 139:13 "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb."
Colossians 1:16 "For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him."
He puts a desire within each person to have a relationship with Him but not all people respond. We respond to Him by accepting Christ's sacrifice on the cross for our sins and believing that God raised Him from the dead. His blood was poured out so that our sins are forgiven. We cannot experience a relationship with God unless we have received this free gift. Even Paul, who was a Pharisee, learned belief in Jesus instead of obeying a list of rules. Our outward religious acts do not save us. He wants to have that relationship with you. He loves you. To read more about accepting His free gift, please click here. Have you experienced religion or a real and personal relationship with Jesus?
John 1:18 (NLT) "No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is Himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us."
Romans 3:25a "God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith."
Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 10:9 "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
1 Peter 3:18 (NLT) "Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but He died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but He was raised to life in the Spirit."
"Going through the motions of religion won’t ever satisfy. It’s only when we bend down low, open our hearts in complete surrender, and say, 'Jesus, it’s You. Only You. There is no other. There is no other possession or person or position that can ever fill the deep soul place shaped only for You.'" —Lysa TerKeurst
So, will you be so bold as to begin saying you have a relationship with Christ instead of calling yourself religious or a Methodist, a Baptist, etc.?
For my art today, I decided to create four Scripture Art Cards. I have not made any in a while, and I have missed it. My little book full of these cards is coming together so nicely. I pray the girls will enjoy having it someday. I used two scriptures from above plus two of the quotes. These were the most meaningful to me, and I thought they would be great for today's art.
Feel free to join us on the Facebook page where some people will be sharing their creations. We also have some discussions that will be going on there too about the study. If you don't use Facebook and want to share your creation here, do so below by using Inlinkz! To see all of the information regarding this challenge and the previous studies and art tips, please see this post here.
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