Religion or Relationship? 

Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
It’s so easy to get caught up in what we “should be doing” according to the world’s standards rather than what we should be doing according to God’s word. Isn’t it so much easier to go & help at a church organization to feed children in Africa, but choose to ignore the girl who sits by herself in youth group because of the pride in our hearts? Isn’t it so much easier to sing praises to Jesus in a microphone on stage, rather than spend hours in prayer before God secretly, where you will receive no glory from man? Isn’t it so easy to write a blog post or publish a book, than to work on secret sins we deal with, such as impure thoughts, ponography, jealousy, gossip, or worry. Just because we go to church every week, sing or play on stage, write about God through our blog posts or Instagram accounts, read our Bible everyday or go on a missions trip (although those are all incredible things), just because we do these things, doesn’t mean we know our Father. 

Doing His work & things for His glory is a result of an intimate relationship with the King of Kings. If we want to pour out love on others, we must first be filled with the love of Jesus every single morning. If we want to speak or write encouragement, we must daily read & study God’s word. If we want to outwardly sing praises to God on a platform, we must inwardly praise Him everyday with a thankful heart, no matter the circumstance. 
The story of the Good Samaritan is an example of this. 

The Bible never says the first two men were bad men, but because they were more concerned with religion or what they thought was important, they missed the opportunity God laid right in front of them to serve & love someone. THEY MISSED AN OPEN OPPORTUNITY TO OBEY GOD IN A SMALL WAY, BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO CONCERNED WITH RELIGION OR WHAT THEY CONSIDERED IMPORTANT. 
This hit me pretty hard. I asked myself the question, “Do I really know my Father? Do I really listen for His voice every day? Do I just put on a show for everyone, then choose to ignore the struggles deep within the hidden parts of my heart?” 

I don’t know about you, but I WANT to know my Father. I want to not only sing on the platform, but sing praises to His name in the privacy of my prayer closet. I not only want to write blog posts, but for my mind to be daily renewed through His word. I not only want to call myself a Christian, I want people to see Christ through me & be drawn to Him, because I am more concerned with my relationship than my religion. God has specific commands He gives us to follow, so as we choose to obey His word, may we also grow closer to Him & know Him more & more. 

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