Behavior is the substance of religion; belief is the substance of relationship. -Charles Stanley-
Man! Is this one powerful statement!
I have written before about how my life was extremely steeped in religion, but it consumed me for so many years that this quote made me feel I should write about it again. I have been in church all my life, and pretty much always wanted to do the right thing. I can say that I had fleeting thoughts about doing things that were forbidden by my parents because they seemed glamorous or just plain fun, but I guess I didn’t want to do those things badly enough to risk an all-out rebellion against them. I knew deep down that my parents were right about the things they stood for, so most of the time my actions were ones that pleased them or didn’t pain them too badly.
In my early adult years I was a huge people-pleaser along with a passion to always do the right thing. Because of that I ended up placing myself on a pedestal and secretly thought I was an awesome Christian because I was active in everything the church did. I had religion in a big-time way by thinking that if I observed certain rules God would be pleased with me. I was definitely religious, but I’m pretty sure that God wasn’t as pleased with me as I thought He was.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that if we are following God, we will do good works and probably stay very busy doing them, but there is a big difference in doing something because the Holy Spirit guided you to do it, opposed to doing something just because you feel you need to participate or will feel guilty if you don’t.
My behavior had led me to a religion of believing in God and doing good works for Him, but my relationship was not a personal one. I knew lots of bible stories, but I didn’t have a personal relationship with the God who had instructed them to be written.
When you truly have an encounter with God, whether from reading His Word, or seeing Him work in your life each day, it changes you from the inside out. You realize that the God who created the universe wants to have a personal relationship with you, and cares about even the smallest of details in your life.
That kind of relationship with God will make the “life of religion” you once had feel extremely shallow, horribly boring and terribly mundane.
God’s love and mercy for His Children is everlasting, and He has an awesome plan for your life. When you go through hard times He wants you to cry out to Him instead of trying to handle things on your own. When you do cry out, He will make Himself known to you in a very real way – whether through another person, something you read, an everyday incident, or any other way He chooses.
Run to God FIRST instead of trying to handle problems on your own and discover for yourself what an awesome God He Is!
This post written by Cathy Deaton.
Please check out my other sites:
How To Deal With A Selfish Person
Handbook for Victorious Christian Living
Blueprint for Victorious Christian Living
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