Ritual or Relationship?

In the January 5th day of the devotional of “Experiencing GOD” by Henry and Richard Blackaby the following observation is being quoted.  I found this to be particularily hitting very close to home on how most of us feel toward our “relationship” with God. 

“Neither did they say, “Where is the Lord, Who brought us up out of the land of Eygpt, Who led us through the wilderness?”  Jeremiah 2:6

“Christianity is an intimate, growing relationship with the person of Jesus Christ.  It is not a set of doctrines to believe, habits to practice, or sins to avoid.  Every activity God commands is intended to enhance His love relationship with His people.

“God designed worship for us to see Him in His glory and to respond appropriately; for many it has degenerated into “religion”, one more meeting to attend out of habit.  God established the sacrificial system so that we, His people, could express our love to Him; but we often diminish our gifts to our Lord into futile attempts to appease Him and to pacify our guilty conscience. 

“God gave us prayer so we could have conversation with Him, but we often distort this by ‘saying prayers’ and hurrying off without ever listening to what is on our Father’s heart.  God instituted His commandments as a protection for those He loves, but the commandments can become a pathway to legalism rather than an avenue for a relationship with our Father in which He protects us from harm.

“Religious activity apart from fellowship with God is empty ritual.  The people of Jeremiah’s day were satisfied to have the ritual without the manifest presence of God.  They became so comfortable with their “religion” that they didn’t even notice God’s absence.  Is it possible to pray, to attend a worship service, or to give an offering yet not to experience the presence of God?  It certainly is possible!  And that has been the sad commentary on many a Christian experience.  Don’t settle for a religious life that lacks a vital relationship to Jesus Christ.  When God is present, the difference will be obvious.”

I felt these words to be so true.  So many of us claim to be Christians in our heart — but we fail to even recognize that we have no real relationship with God.  We don’t even follow His two only commandments:  Love God above all else and Love your Neighbor as you love yourself.  Do you REALLY put God as number one in your life?  Or does He sit on the shelf for when you really have to call on Him??  Or do you put others as priority in your life?  Do you put your career or your possessions as the number one priority??  Do you REALLY treat others with love?  IF you get enraged by another “group” of individuals because of their thinking, their color, their culture, their religious philosphy are you REALLY loving as God commands you to? 

If everyone in this world lived by these two simple (but very difficult) commandments we would have universal peace and prosperity in this world.  Everyone claims to know and embrace the “concepts of these commandments” but how many of us are REALLY living them?

Experiencing God Day-by-Day: Devotional

Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God, Revised and Expanded

One Response to “Ritual or Relationship?”

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