Religion vs. Relationship – A fresh view! (part 7)

Posted: 25/05/2011 in God
Tags: , , ,

I can hardly describe the joy I’ve experienced by allowing God to change my perceptions on what it means to spend time with Him. I can honestly say it’s like I’ve gone from wading through deep water and tiring with the effort of it, to flying – so radical is the change. The key for me was in inviting God to be an actual part of the time I spend with Him rather than force myself into a dutiful religious practice where I hoped for approval. It’s seeing my faith journey as a Holy relationship and not a human religion that has really changed. I have started seeing God in new ways and in the context of a relationship with Him these verses have come to life for me. He is the one that:

  • Is with me, saves me, delights in me, no longer rebukes me but rejoices over me with singing (Zeph 3:17, Ps 149:4)
  • Knows exactly what is on my mind (Ps 139:2&4)
  • Promises to listen to me (Jer 29:12)
  • Helps me (Isaiah 41:10&13)
  • Molds me and makes me more like His son (Is 64:8)
  • Wants to give me good gifts (Matt 7:11)
  • Wants me to taste to see that He is good (Ps 34:80)
  • Gives understanding through by His son (1 John 5:20)
  • Helps me by His Spirit (Rom 8:26)
  • Desires intimacy with me (Jer 24:7)
  • Sees me as His son’s bride (2 Cor 11:2)
  • Calls me His friend (John 15:15)

Rather than just seeing these as a bunch of nice verses I have started thinking about them and how that is changing my time with Him. Of course it’s been challenging too and so hard at times but I would never go back to that stifling, tedious, wearisome, lonely and sad religious experience that I walked for so long. God is relational and loving more than I think we can comprehend and yet some of us treat Him like a distant, partially interested cosmic being! By no means do I have it all worked out which is actually why I started writing on religion vs. relationship, to try to process what I’m learning. Below I have listed what I am finding a help. These things are ongoing; I without doubt, do not have it all figured out or have it perfectly learned. It may be of help to you but take into account that it will be different for each of us. As I mentioned earlier, I think it starts with recognising when we are making a religion out of what should be a relationship. Maybe even, like me, you need to throw out all your preconceived ideas about what it is to spend time with God and start afresh. If you let Him, He will astound you and love you to the point where you are utterly consumed by Him.

CHANGING FROM RELIGION TO RELATIONSHIP

  • Repented for making an idol of my time with the Lord (ceased to worship the worship).
  • Removed the structure of God time and started doing it whenever, wherever and however. Gone are the I should, I must, I have to try harder and the sigh’s of “I’m not doing it right”. I mentioned in another post about measuring my standards against God’s and in doing that, if they don’t line up with His they just can’t be right.
  • Ask Him (it’s ongoing) to give me a hunger for His word and as I’m reading ask for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.
  • Changed the way I read the bible and this is definitely different for everyone. I no longer limit myself to one approach.
  • Ask God to teach me – And I ask that a lot! Sometimes I’ll ask Him to teach me about something specific like prayer and other times I will ask Him to teach me whatever He wants to teach me (and that can be both challenging and rewarding).
  • Invite Him to be a part of my day, all day.
  • Expect to hear from Him instead of thinking He is too busy or uninterested.
  • Then listen – This is a practice I find hard to do; I must have missed out on so much as I hurried through a “quiet time” and a short prayer. But how rewarding it’s becoming as I practice just shutting up and listening to the Father’s voice!
  • Spend time worshiping in song or meditating on the psalms. I love doing this. Singing and playing instruments come very naturally to me so the danger in this area is that I make an idol out of it.
  • Have times of just soaking in His presence and doing nothing else – and yes I find this a big challenge. Seriously…do nothing? But I have to, I need to, God surely you want me to do something! If that’s the case, then why does He say “…be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10). I’m sure that doesn’t mean be still while doing stuff and know that I am God, and yet that’s what I made it.
  • Chat with Him during the day about anything and everything just as I would a friend. As our conversation grows my ear becomes more attuned to His voice and He really has a lot to say.
  • And finally…allow Him to surprise me everyday in what in means to have God time.

I hope that, if religion is something your struggling with, the last 7 posts will challenge your pre-conceived notions about “God time” and give you fresh insight into what the Father really desires in the time we spend with him.

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