Relationship Vs. Religion Pt 2

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message (MSG)

I realize that I haphazardly jumped right into my first blog without qualifying some things. I just love Jesus so much and I was ready to get this thang going. Anyhow, this time I will try to do better.

Let’s continue our previous conversation by defining the terms that are the basis for my first two blogs. Starting with religion. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines religion as a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Niki Translation – Acting like your right with God because you follow a set of rules based on a group that you are a part of or follow. The religious people of His time has Jesus Christ crucified but I wonder how many of the Hollier than thou saints even know enough of the Bible to understand that. Nevertheless, please, don’t get me started.
Moving right along, the Oxford Living Dictionary defines relationship as the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected. Niki Translation – knowing Jesus Christ for yourself and seeking to understand Him through personal relationship. I really wish more people knew God and had an intimate relationship with Him. Not some halfhearted, Johnny come lately by-product of your grandmammies faith. Yea, I said it! I remember being in that place. Immaturely believing that singing in the gospel choir or going to church every 3rd Sunday was enough. God wasn’t real and he doesn’t talk back so why would I talk to him? Lies! LIES! Lies! ALL LIES FROM THE PIT OF HELL.

I’ve learned that I had to develop my own relationship with God and once I began seeking Him…guess what I found? Him – the I AM..the Alpha and Omega that knows the beginning from the end. God is very real and He does talk back!!! We just have to get somewhere and sat down. We just have to look and listen. The Bible tells us “ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 (NIV)

Wait what? All I have to do is genuinely seek God with my whole heart? I’m not expected to follow 10,000 rules and regulations prescribed by the religious people of our time? Niki, you have to be tripping here? Nope, ya girl ain’t tripping! (Please note that this is a blog where my Ebonics kicks in sometimes.) I have come to give you some good news! You don’t have to earn God’s love. The Bibles says that we are saved by grace, through faith. “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Galatians 5:1 (NLT)

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I’ve been set free!!!

I’ve discovered so many wonderful things about God by having a personal relationship with Him. God is so funny and He has a great sense of humor. God is love and He loves me. There are so many faucets of the King that I would not even be able to articulate them in one sitting! Not to mention that I don’t know everything about God and I’m still walking this thing out. God keeps it all the way real and he wants us to keep it real with Him too. God knows our struggles and still accepts us! God knows our flaws and still calls us! The world will call us by our sin, but God calls us by our name. You aren’t a mistake. You are here on purpose and for a purpose. God has a plan for your life. Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV) says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Baby Niki

God had a plan for me before I was even conceived!

Here is a short prayer from the Holy Spirit that lives in me for anyone reading that wants to choose Jesus. Lord Jesus, I accept you into my heart as my Savior and my King. I repent of my sins and wish to turn away from my sinful ways. I want to be set free from the bondage of sin. I want a genuine relationship with you. Make me over Lord. I plead the blood of Jesus Christ over my life. From this day forward, I want to be a better reflection of you in the earth. From now until forever, I want to be all that you called me to be.  In the mighty name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
In this moment, I want you to understand that there is much more to being in relationship with Christ than saying a prayer. Above all else, have FAITH that God will lead you in the right direction once you’ve taken that first step. There is no formula to having a relationship with God just make Him a priority the best way you know how. Don’t let religious people conform you to their standard of living but be led by the Spirit of God above ALL ELSE! “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (ESV)

Okay Jesus I choose you, now what? Am I supposed to follow a bunch of rules from a book I don’t understand? Am I supposed to spend time with people that hurt me at church (yes church hurt is real – another topic for another blog)? Am I supposed to be perfect? Based on my personal experience, the answer to all those questions is NO. *Stands up and shouts* FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK, NONE OF THAT FOOLISHNESS IS REQUIRED! God told me to take things one day at a time and one step at a time. He also made it clear that changing my behavior, thoughts and heart would not be solely on me. However, do not think that this is a license to sin. Do not mock God by abusing the love and grace He gives so freely.

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God has impressed on my heart that with the help of the Holy Spirit I would be all that He created me to be.

God has impressed on my heart that with the help of the Holy Spirit I would be all that He created me to be.

Many of us have the wrong idea. The expectation isn’t for you to get saved one day and be the “perfect Christian” (whatever that means) the next. The idea is for you to surrender your heart to Jesus and let Him do a work in you…ONE…DAY…AT…A…TIME! Prioritize prayer and learn God – figure out how to love him – at least that’s what I did. Until next time friends, go ahead and get you some of that living water – Jesus Christ!

The Word: 28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message (MSG)

The Story: I didn’t know God intimately before, I was just being religious doing things I thought I was supposed to do. But, I’ve come into the knowledge of Jesus Christ and I embrace his abundant love now more than ever. There is so much more to explore, I’ve barely even scratched the surface.

The Lesson: Based on my personal experience and through reading the Bible I’ve gathered that the expectation is for you to surrender your heart to Jesus and let Him do a work in you one day at a time. You don’t have to do a bunch of religious works trying to earn God’s love.

Bonus:  Read Galatians 5, yes the entire chapter, it will bless you! Here is more good worship, Make Me Over by Tonéx – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9t60fl39ly8
© 2018 The Love JC Ministry, all rights reserved.

 

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