Religion, or Relationship?

So often on my walk with the Lord, I’ve been told I’m a very “religious person.” Of course, when I hear the word “religion”, I think of a particular act of worship which involves rituals and tradition. However, my faith in Jesus Christ is far from any kind of ritualistic behavior or tradition. My relationship with the Lord is personal and intimate. It is a 24/7, daily walk with Jesus that enables me to keep doing what I can. In James 1:27, we see a clear indication of what religion actually means:

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Religion in God’s Word is described as helping one another, especially those in need. It’s not about how many times we’ve read the bible, or how often we attend church. Those things are a natural part of the Christian life, because when we are saved and born-again, our desires, and priorities shift from “me, myself and I” to “Jesus, others, me.” When we love Jesus, our love for Him is what motivates us to love others. This is true for even the ones that are “hard to love.” We may find it difficult to love someone, but Jesus’ love surpasses everything.

There are so many practical ways we can show people we love them. One way is to give people our time. We push aside our own schedule and open up our availability to those who need us the most. Today was one of those days where I just wanted a “day off.” I wanted to spend my day curled up on my couch reading or studying, but when I had the opportunity to take my grandma out for the day I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It was one of those moments where I needed to stop and ask myself “What is more important? My “Sara time” or family time? I often run into this dilemma, but I always seem to feel more at peace when I choose to spend time with a loved one. There’s something about a relationship with Jesus that cannot be replaced with religion. A relationship with Jesus helps us in our relationship with others. It’s what fuels the relationship and makes it thrive. It gives us the ability to be selfless and encouraging, and always seeking the interests of others.

Thank You, Lord, for changing my heart. Thank You for enabling me to love without borders, even when there are people who are “hard to love.”

It’ easy to love those who love me, but when there are people who mock, discourage, or dislike me for who I am, I look to Jesus Christ, who was also made-fun-of His relationship with God. He is our example of what true religion is, and He is our example of what true love is.

Here’s a picture of my grandma, isn’t she adorable? We had a blast together today, and I am full of joy because I listened to the Holy Spirit when He said: “Go, visit orphans and widows in their trouble.”




1 Comment

  1. I find it so important to put others first. It all comes back to JOY. Jesus comes first, ALWAYS comes first. Then others comes next. To complete JOY you include yourself. I love that acronym!


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