Relationship Not Religion

Christianity isn’t a religion. It’s a relationship.

Well, it isn't. When I was younger, I had it engraved in my head that if I went to church every Sunday, prayed the same prayers repeatedly, and completed a routine, that I would be perfectly fine. I truly believed that Christianity was just a set of rules. You break any one of the 10 commandments, you are done. It was all about striving to be perfect and not making any mistakes to avoid going to a huge lake and pit of fire where you suffer, called hell. It scared me. And it turned me away from the whole idea of being a Christian. I was struggling with faith personally.

But then, God put someone extremely special in my life: my current boyfriend of almost three years. I am confident that God used my boyfriend and his family as witnesses to have an impact on me. They played such a huge role in my rebirth. God used them. I would and still do have these deep conversations with them about The Lord, and I take something away from them every single time. One of the first things that God used them to teach me, was the idea that you could have this intimate relationship with Jesus Himself. And I didn’t get it. I would think, “Well. I cannot see Him. So, I cannot have a relationship with Him. ”

And it took a while for God to prove me wrong. But His timing is perfect.

After God had revealed to me what He felt He needed to, I was reborn in February of 2014. As I was learning and growing in my faith, about a month in, I realized that I was wrong. Completely and utterly wrong. I realized that following a set of rules was not the key. Going to church every Sunday was not the key. Striving to be a perfect human being was not the key.

The intimacy of your relationship with Jesus Himself was and is the key.

God showed me that it was never about following the rules. It was about knowing Him. He wants us to show Him that we care deeply. Jesus is a person. As people ourselves, it is pretty easy to understand that it is natural for us all to feel like wanted. Jesus feels the same. He wants to know that you care about getting to know Him.

Now, at first, I did not really understand how to do this. I was not used to it. And it took me a while to realize that all it is, is talking. Talking as if you were talking to another person. Simply venting. The more you talk to Him, the more you get to know Him, and that is when the relationship begins to grow and develop.

The relationship you have with Jesus is what matters.

Not the fact that you go to church. Not the fact that you said the Hail Mary. No. Do you know Him? And i mean know Him? Think of it this way. If you were a celebrity, and a fan came to your door, and said “Let me in! I’ve read your book. Your picture is on my fridge. Let me in!”

You would think,“That’s great. But do I know you? Personally?” Same goes for God. It is knowing Him that matters. Nothing else. Develop that relationship. Pray for God to open your heart and give you that extra push to want to get to know Him, because once you let Him in, He will not let you go. He will not. Once that relationship starts, it grows. Rapidly. And it is the best thing ever.Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.(Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

While it is important to go out and proclaim His Good News to the world, do not do it so much that your relationship with Him diminishes and fades. Make time so you and The Lord can get to know one another. He’s waiting for you. And He is there whenever you are ready to reveal yourself to Him.

You cannot muster that up yourself. God has to place that desire in you. Pray that He will give it you, so that your relationship with Him can be the best you have and ever will experience.

Haley Phelps, TeensHaley Phelps