Knowing Jesus is better than religion. It's a relationship, and it means we are directly connected to the living, loving power center of the universe.
How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? … Only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? … Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Don’t these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God. Galatians 3:2-6, The Message
Religion can be exhausting.
Five steps to do this. Seven steps to do that. Follow all the rules. Don’t put a toe out of line. Try hard – then try harder. In the middle of all that, be peaceful, loving and happy! Then get up tomorrow and do it all again. For all that effort, we hope God will favor us while we’re alive and take us to heaven when we die. Usually, we either end up depressed because we realize we can’t make it, or self-righteous because we think that we have.
Aren’t you glad there is a better way?
You see, God has a One-Step Plan: “He who has the Son has life.” The Bible actually says God gave all those rules so we would realize how imperfect we are and how desperately we need Jesus. Although He was God, He laid aside His divine nature and was born as a human being. He fulfilled God’s Law perfectly on our behalf. Then He died on the cross to pay for every sin we would ever commit, rose from the dead as the completely victorious King over the universe, and sent the Holy Spirit to empower us and walk with us step by step through our everyday lives. From that point on, the main thing isn’t what we’re doing. It’s who we’re trusting. He’ll sort out the rest of it along the way.
It’s time to stop trusting in our own efforts to make ourselves holy—we can’t do it on our own. From the moment we trust Jesus as Savior, Scripture says we become a “new creation”. Our old nature dies and He gives us a new nature!
God’s extravagant grace means that He has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. You see, He wants to make us into something far more than merely good, moral people. He wants to connect us directly to His love, His power, and His presence— as His beloved sons and daughters! That’s why Christianity is better than religion. Christianity means a direct, one-on-one relationship with the living, loving power center of the universe, the One who knows us fully and loves us completely.
(John 3:36, Romans 3:19-20, 2 Corinthians 5:17)
Lord, knowing You is so much better than religion! I’m putting down all my self-effort and turning to You for life today. I want to be more than just a good person, I want to be connected to You. Fill me with Your grace, Your love, Your presence and Your power. Thank You, Lord!