– Henry Blackaby
God isn’t seeking more religious people; He is seeking a relationship with people, so Christianity is not really about religion, but a relationship. From the time of Abraham, God has been seeking to have a people for His own possession where they would be His people and He would be their God. The Apostle Peter writes, “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1st Pet 2:10).
In our church’s prison ministry, one of the prisoners we serve said that God is interested in building a relationship with us, but we must be building relationships with one another too. Of course he is right. The church is described as the Body of Christ so it must function in harmony in order for it to do what Jesus has told the church to do (Matt 25:34-40). Serving others is all about relationships.
Rituals and Tradition
There are some things in the church that are important like the Lord’s Supper or Communion, but some things are not. It’s so easy to drift into autopilot when you’re having church. Our deacon once asked, “Why do we do it this way?” We had fallen into a tradition without even knowing it and it wasn’t until our deacon brought it to our attention that we even realized it. Jesus was not happy about the traditions of men, saying, “in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:7), and this was spoken to a lot of “religious people,” like the Jews religious leaders.
Holier than Thou
There is nothing that turns off unbelievers more than someone acting and talking like they just came down from Mount Sinai. I think transparency is a better option because that allows people’s walls to come down. When we admit our faults and sins to those who don’t know Christ, they see that even Christians struggle with these things (whatever they might be). The unsaved person should hear about our real struggles and not appear to them as “holier than thou.” Instead, offer them hope that they don’t have to clean themselves up before coming to Christ. That’s His job.
To be loved in a personal relationship with God is a relationship of the highest order, so let’s understand that we don’t have to be perfect; God wants a relationship with us despite our imperfections; He doesn’t want us to have a form of religion but to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and not act like we are better than anyone else, because we’re not.