Religion alone - the practices and rituals of spirituality to reach out to a god/gods - can't save us. We can be born into a religion but it does not make us true worshipers from the beginning. In fact, you will find that at an early age to our teen years, we had to grapple with certain habits - cursing, lying, selfishness, sexual perversions, unrestrained anger, rebellion, jealousy, and more - even though we know these violate God's standards. And yet we do them anyway. Why? Because religion alone cannot save nor change us. Self-discipline and rules are not enough to make us change.
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ...These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ...
"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."
Religion, the rituals and practices cannot guarantee salvation. For if salvation is reached through them, how much is enough to get us saved? What is the certainty that the amount that we do will ever be good enough?
God is a holy and a just God. He can't leave sin - even if it's just a tiny one - to be unpunished. But He loved us too much to send us to hell. So He sent His son Jesus Christ to die for our sins when He came to earth 2,000 years ago to get our punishment that we deserve.
Instead of religion, God is after relationship. In Christ, we have relationship with God.
"Jesus answered, “I am . No one comes to Father except through me."
The starting point of a relationship with God starts when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of our life.
Jesus, as son, then shows the Father to us. We pray to Him and we are no longer far from God, but are accepted into His kingdom.
Christ also gives us the power to change if we repent and acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior.
"Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ...you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God..."
That's why you hear testimonies of people being set free once they truly got to know Jesus in their lives. They are instantly - or gradually (little by little) - being changed into God's glory and likeness.
However, this is just the start. We must continue to walk with Him if we are ever to grow in Him.
Five tips to continue building a relationship with God:
1. Know God more.
Knowing someone is the start of a relationship. Relationship begins with knowing the God you worship more. Earnestly seek the person of God more with all our hearts.
2. Obey His voice.
When God speaks to us, even if it's just a short message, we are to obey, and follow Him. God's counsel is for our good, and He seeks our best for us.
"This is what the LORD says: 'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'"
3. Build your life on truth.
God does not lie (Numbers 23:19). Those who follow Him must walk in truth, be bearers of the truth, and speak the truth. Do not end your quest for the truth. Be established in the truth, and believe the truth.
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."John 8:32
4. Walk in love.
"...walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
1 Corinthians 13 sums up what love is. When we walk in love, miracles are not far behind. When we walk in love, God is glorified, for He is love. Walk in love and you are free not to obey the evil one, Satan. Walk in love and you will see more spiritual fruit, God can speak to you more, and God will honor you. ♥
5. Walk with others.
While learning to walk with God on our own is an important trait, it is not God's design for us to remain that way. God wants us to know His other friends, people from other walks of life who share a common ground of being followers of God. They can help us in our walk, pray for us, counsel us, encourage us, and believe the best for us. God's friends - just like Abraham was for he was called a friend of God (James 2:23) - are not perfect just as we are not. Faith is a journey we take with others and not just our own.
I hope these five tips to building a relationship with God will help you grow more with Him. I pray the Spirit of truth will come and reveal to you all truth about God, your life, and your destiny. Be blessed!