Isaiah 29:13, "And so the Lord says, 'These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.'"
Have you ever found yourself feeling as if your relationship with God had turned into a routine? Did you start to feel like you were simply going through the motions?
I grew up going to church. When I was six years old, I asked Jesus to be the Lord and Savior of my life. All through the years, I have felt like I was the apple of God's eye. We've walked through my entire life together, and I'm so grateful for Him having a personal relationship with me.
There have been moments in my life, though, where I felt as if I started simply going through the motions. I know the Sunday-school answers. I can put on a church face. However, I noticed recently that I was feeling as if I was simply going through a routine and wasn't really walking in close fellowship with God. It frustrated me.
I'd wake up and have no desire to pick up my Bible. I felt like the anointing God has on my life to write wasn't as strong. Spending time with God turned into a check-off list instead of a time where I'd really try to connect with Him.
Last night I realized that the problem was that I had turned my relationship with God into a religion instead of allowing it to be a relationship.
Instead of me picking up my Bible to spend time with God, I picked up my Bible out of routine. I began having a God box instead of allowing Him to penetrate every area of my life.
When I sat in my room last night, I didn't say a word. I was quiet and finally could hear God speak to my heart in His still, small voice. As I sat silently, He revealed to me what I am sharing with you now. I finally felt as if I were close to God again. A breakthrough took place.
God showed me how religion doesn't work. If you try to follow all the things the Bible teaches us to do while leaving the relationship with God out of the picture, you come to find that it's miserable. However, if you draw near to God in relationship, the things we are told to do in the Bible are the fruit we produce from having a relationship with Him. Religion keeps us in bondage, but a relationship with God brings us freedom.
So, I'll ask again: Do you feel like you're simply going through the motions of Christianity? If so, my encouragement to you is to get rid of the religion and draw near to God Himself. Get rid of your check-off list, and go to God to be close to Him. Keep pressing in. When you don't feel like picking up your Bible, still pick it up. Jeremiah 29:13-14a promises, "'If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,' says the Lord." Even if God feels far away right now, realize that He is just a prayer away. James 4:8a says, "Come close to God, and God will come close to you."
If you want to live a life worth-while, get rid of religion and get a hold of a relationship with Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father,
For quite some time, I've felt far from You. I wanted to be close to You, but instead of drawing near, I turned our relationship into a check-off list and put You in a box. Lord, I pray for Your forgiveness. Thank You for having a real relationship with me that changes me from the inside out. More than anything else, I want to be near You. Please walk with me everywhere I go. Please penetrate every aspect of my life. In Jesus' Name.