It Was Never About Religion

It’s a relationship.

That’s what I realised as I stood at the front of church yesterday with one of my sisters and read out her testimony.  So similar to mine, in many ways, and yet infinitely different in another because she’s one person and I’m another and our God has a different relationship with each of us.

Each person standing up the front (we had 5 baptisms!!!!!!!) had a beautiful story and they were all unique.  I have a unique story.  I’m praying you have a unique story of how Christ reached you too.  And how He’s continued walking with each one of us, reaching us in different ways, speaking through different things.

Being in that building yesterday and being reminded all over again that we serve a POWERFUL God.  He isn’t slumbering.  He’s mighty to save (as we sang yesterday – and WOW!  A full church, music group stops, and the power of singing that song).  And yet, He’s close enough that when everything is unravelling, I can lift tear-filled eyes and know He is there.  Or I see a pretty flower and I can whisper “good job, Papa”.  The giggle of a baby, the beauty of a sunset, the touch of holding someone’s hand – so many ways He reaches down and ‘kisses’ us.

If all we as a church have to offer the world is religion, it’s empty.  This world has plenty of religion.  It has plenty of rules and legalism and beliefs.

If all we’re offering is a list of do’s and don’ts, we may as well hang our heads and retire into obscurity.

But…

What if what we have to offer is saving and the most amazing relationship you’ll ever have?

What if we can offer unconditional love by the God who created us and loved us too much to let us carry on laying our own path to Hell?

What if we are offering the power to be more and experience more than anything this world can ever imagine?

What if?

And that’s the crux of the matter – We are.  We do.  We should be.

Religion won’t save us.

The list of do’s and don’ts definitely won’t save us. (Oh sure, if we could keep every single law, every single second of every single day, for the rest of our lives.  But we can’t.  We can’t force ourselves to be perfect – it’s beyond us.  We can’t even mentally force ourselves to change completely and utterly – it’s beyond us.  And each time we fail, we fall just a little further and the guilt and shame start hammering us over the head, pushing us in even deeper.)

But a Saviour will.

And once He has, the relationship He offers is mind-blowing.

The unconditionalness He offers is mind-blowing.

He’s seen me curled up in a ball with a hand full of tablets, crying my pain out, wanting to end it.

He’s seen me shoot daggers (mentally) across the room and wish someone would drop dead.

He’s seen me look at Him, decide I know best and deliberately start down a path I know was not His plan for me.

He’s seen me in a worse place than anyone else – even my parents or best friend – has seen me and He has still opened His arms and let me crawl back into them.

If all I can offer a hurting, bruised person is religion, I have failed.

But I have a Saviour to offer.

And then a journey to live with Someone who loves them more than it’s humanly possible to love.

And that is what the world needs.

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